Just a hunch but I'm guessing he handled it that way because he knew he wasn't 100% innocent either. Something had to happen on the plane (this guy was nonrevving home) to make this pax get riled up. I didn't read the linked article but initially the pilot declined to even press charges. I think maybe the local LEO decided to press their own charges. I dunno. I will say it would've been kinda funny if the pilot knocked the guy to the floor. This outcome is better for all involved including the company who comes out looking good especially after the United incident. It's fun to talk tough but I fully admit I would run away from any fight I can!