The front page of today's Daily News is devoted to "hero cop" Anibal Mercado, who saved a plane full of Jet Blue passengers from... a rowdy drunk guy on a flight. Mercado, a Bronx cop who was off duty and returning home from a Thanksgiving vacation in the Dominican Republic Saturday night, restrained the sodden passenger after he allegedly punched a male flight attendant. The inebriate in question, 22-year-old Antonio Ynoa, had been demanding club soda to mix with his rum, and Mercado says he flipped out when flight attendants said it was against the rules to drink Duty Free alcohol during the flight.
"The babies were crying, I could see the fear in the passengers’ faces," Mercado tells the Post. "If I didn’t step in, I didn’t even want to imagine what could have happened." It's too horrible to contemplate, but more babies might have started crying if he hadn't done something—and for that Mercado deserves the rank of hero as far as we're concerned. Also, as he struggled to put flex cuffs on Ynoa, he was punched a few times in the face for his troubles. But he modestly tells the News, "I do this every day. I'm not a hero, it's just routine. Even when I'm on vacation, I'm still a police officer. The only difference is it was 12,000 feet in the air." And the plane wasn't blocking a bike lane.
After Mercado restrained Ynoa, he says the pissed passenger was spitting so much that flight attendants got a paper mask from the first aid kit to cover his mouth. And when the flight landed at JFK, Port Authority police took Ynoa into custody, but not before he punched an kicked them as well. "He just kept resisting and resisting, he wouldn’t stop," Mercado tells the Post. Ynoa faces charges of assault and interference with a flight crew. At press time, the officials could not confirm rumors that Mercado was being transferred to the 1st Precinct to team up with Detective Rick Lee for a Hipster Hero Cop dream team.