Posted: 17 Nov 2021 15:23 GMT
The altercation occurred during a United Airlines flight from Alaska to San Francisco on July 29.
US authorities charged a Texas woman with allegedly assaulting a flight attendant who asked her husband to put on the mask. If found guilty, the passenger could receive a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California last Friday.
On July 29 Debby Dutton, 50, and her husband were traveling from Alaska to San Francisco on a United Airlines flight, a journey that lasts four and a half hours. When there was approximately an hour to go to land, after repeated announcements about the mandatory use of masks by federal mandate, a flight attendant woke up a passenger who was asleep and whose mask had fallen off. The man, who was Dutton’s husband, who was at her side, obeyed the order.
However, Dutton did not take it well and, according to the complainant’s affidavit, she got up from her seat and yelled angrily at the flight attendant, who tried to explain that the passenger was not wearing a mask. The accused continued walking towards where the flight attendant was and began to push her. The complainant indicated that “she was taken by surprise and felt threatened and scared” and described the assault as “painful and forceful,” according to the statement.
Once the passenger was calmed down by her husband and the attack stopped, the flight attendant immediately informed the captain. Later, once the flight landed, law enforcement officers interviewed several passengers who saw or heard part of the incident.
According to the statement, Dutton has been charged with interference by assault, threat or intimidation of flight crew members or attendants, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office, however, clarifies that “the charges contained in a criminal complaint are mere accusations.” “As in any criminal case, the accused are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law,” it is noted.
The statement said Dutton appeared in federal court in Houston, Texas, to face the charge filed in federal court in San Francisco, California, of interfering with an airplane flight by assaulting a flight attendant. In addition, prosecutors are in the process of obtaining an order for Dutton to face his charges in the court that filed the charge.