Sometimes you’ll read a story and just shake your head. And then the story continues – and continues, and…continues – and you just shake your head even more. Such is the case of Chelsea Alston.
In April 2021, Alston, a resident of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, was on vacation in Orlando. She was scheduled to fly home on Southwest, but the airline staff wouldn’t allow her onto the plane because she appeared to be intoxicated.
Bodycam footage taken by Police Officer Andrew Mamone shows Alston, by the gate for her plane, right after she had turned away from her Southwest flight. She appeared belligerent as she departed the gate on her motorized suitcase.
Officer Mamone explained why she wasn’t going to be allowed to go on the plane and would need to go back to the terminal. To this, Alston cursed him out, flipped him the bird and attempted to leave him while still riding her motorized luggage.
Seeing how fast the luggage could go, Mamone got a bicycle and proceeded to follow Alston through the airport, trying to get her to leave. As you can see in the following video of the raw footage from Mamone’s body camera, as hard as he tried, she was not cooperative any step of the way. When she continued to resist and had resorted to spitting on Mamone, he, with the assistance of another officer, placed Alston under arrest.
Note: Video contains NSFW adult language and situations.
After being dragged into the police car, Alston not only continued to spit, but also proceeded to defecate in the vehicle, eventually causing about $1,200 in damage (as per her arrest report).
She was charged with:
- Battery on law enforcement officer
- Resisting officer with violence
- Criminal mischief
- Resisting office without violence
- Assault on law enforcement
- Disorderly conduct
That’s where most coverage of her story ended. But I kept checking the Orange County, FL court records website for updates and that’s definitely not where the story ended…
April 12, 2021: Held in Orange County Jail since her arrest the previous day, Alston claimed she was indigent and requested a public defender.
May 3, 2021: She was released from the Orange County Jail on bond and was ordered to have regular drug testing done. Alston stated she understood but had to go home to New Jersey.
May 20, 2021: Alston was scheduled to get a drug screening in Florida. An officer contacted her on May 19th and spoke to her mother, who said Alston was back in New Jersey and therefore unable to be screened in Florida in the 20th. A few days later, the conditions of Alston’s release were updated – she didn’t have to go through drug testing anymore.
August 24, 2021: Alston, now with an attorney who would represent her in Florida while she was still in New Jersey, pleaded not guilty to all charges and requested a jury trial. The trial was scheduled for October 4, 2021, but over time was rescheduled for November 8th, then January 25, 2022, then March 1, 2022.
Mid-late February, 2022: With her trial coming up, the video footage of Officer Mamone chasing Alston around Orlando International Airport was shared “by everyone and his brother” on the internet.
March 1, 2022: Alston, back in Florida, was offered a plea deal by the prosecutor – two years supervised probation, pay $1,222 in restitution for the damages, and a required anger management course – but she turned it down (her attorney said she didn’t want to serve probation). She told the judge that she wanted to proceed to a jury trial. The trial was re-scheduled for March 7th, which then was re-scheduled for March 21st, and then March 23rd.
March 21, 2022: Two days before Alston’s trial, Click Orlando reported that Officer Mamone was demanding that she receive, at minimum, a sentence of supervised probation.
“It happened in public, in one of the most public places you can probably imagine, the Orlando International Airport, where we’ve seen a rise of occurrences like this and behavior like this.” Mamone said. “Spitting in my face at the height of a pandemic… warrants some level of probation here.
“I feel like just giving (Alston) credit for time served probably won’t help deter this action in the future from Ms. Alston, and definitely it doesn’t help deter further action in the eye of the public,” he continued.
Citing Alston’s consistent refusal of plea deals, her public defender told Click Orlando, “We turned down the state’s offer with the probation. She has no history. She’s never been arrested before.”
March 23, 2022: Chelsea Alston failed to appear for her court case. She could not be found inside the Orange County Courthouse, and her attorney said he had been unable to contact her by phone. A warrant was issued for her arrest. It included an order to extradite her to Florida if she was arrested in another state.
From that point on, everything just…stopped. What appeared to be her Facebook profile was still being updated a few times a week, so it didn’t seem as if she was in jail somewhere. But there were no updates of her being arrested in either Florida or New Jersey (or New York, for that matter, since she sometimes used an address in Brooklyn).
And then, all of a sudden…
May 7, 2022: Alston was arrested at a catering business in Irvington, NJ by the U.S. Marshals New York – New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force (whoa, she hit the BIG TIME!). According to the local NY tri-state area NBC affiliate, she was going to be transferred back to Florida.
May 27, 2022: Paperwork was submitted that Alston’s previous bonds, which totaled $8,500 (+ $68 Clerk’s Fees) were forfeited (due to her being a no show back in March) and the court was to collect the bond money.
June 4, 2022: Alston was transferred from the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Facility in Newark NJ to the Orange County Jail in Orlando, FL, where, this time, she was held without bond (gee, ya think?). Her lawyer requested all the information that the prosecutors might use in their attempt to convict. Paperwork was filed so that Alston, who had been in custody since her arrest in NJ on May 7th, would remain as such. Her arraignment hearing was scheduled for June 16th.
June 16, 2022 – Alston was arraigned, with her virtual pre-trial conference set for July 13th and her trial for July 25th. Alston herself wasn’t present for her arraignment, since she was on restricted movement due to COVID-19 precautions. However as per her court-appointed lawyer, she had a written plea of not guilty (did she not see the video of herself from 2021?!?!?!).
From that point on, it was just a matter of waiting for the trial in July. But then…PLOT TWIST!
June 30, 2022 – Alston apparently saw the light, and entered a plea deal agreement with prosecutors, wherein she pleaded no contest to her misdemeanor charges of battery and criminal mischief. In exchange for her plea, prosecutors agreed to drop her felony charges of battery on a law enforcement officer (sorry, Officer Mamone) and criminal mischief. Each of those felony counts would have carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Judge Patricia L. Strowbridge has been preciding over Alston’s case ever since the woman’s original arrest in April, 2021. Following Alston’s plea deal, the judge sentenced her to 50 days in jail (with credit for the 50 days she had served), and placed her on supervised probation for a year. As part of her sentence, Alston also is required to pay $1,222 to the Orlando Police Department, in restitution for the damage she made to their patrol car when she spit and defecated in it.
As per court records, Alston has also been ordered to complete an anger management program, undergo random drug and alcohol testing (with treatment for same if she fails said testing), and perform 75 hours of community service (8 hours per month, or instead show proof that she has a full time [35+ hours per week] job). She also isn’t allow to “disappear” like she did in March, 2022, and, of course, she’s allowed not break any laws or have dealings with anyone who is.
If Chelsea Alston successfully completes her sentence, Judge Strowbridge will withhold adjudication and no conviction will appear on her criminal record.
End of story. Quite the long and winding road, huh?
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