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Woman Assaulted Flight Attendant in Face Mask Dispute That Didn’t Even Involve Her

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On a journey from Anchorage to San Francisco, a lady is accused of beating a United Airlines flight attendant over a face mask that had nothing to do with her.

Federal prosecutors have charged Debby Dutton of Cypress, Texas, with interfering with a flight crew member, and she may face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

On June 29, 2021, the incident occurred on a typical four-and-a-half-hour journey from Alaska to California. Shortly after boarding, flight attendants reminded passengers that the federal face mask regulation was in force and that if their mask slid below their nose or mouth, they would be reminded to wear it.

Flight attendants expressly advised passengers that if their face mask slid off while sleeping, they would be forced to wake them up, according to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court in Houston on Friday.

When there is turbulence and the seat belt is covered by a blanket, the same method is followed.

A flight attendant was traveling through the cabin collecting trash around three and a half hours into the flight when she realized a sleeping passenger’s face mask had slid off.

The flight attendant tapped the passenger on the shoulder to wake him awake, and he adjusted his mask without protest after being reminded.

According to the affidavit, what could have been a harmless interaction suddenly escalated when the passenger’s wife interrupted and yelled at the flight attendant, “You don’t touch my husband, why you wake him?”

The flight attendant attempted to explain, but the 50-year-old suspect allegedly started screaming at the crew member and moved up to them, pushing them in the arm so forcefully that they had to take a step back to keep their balance.

Before returning to her seat, Dutton pushed the flight attendant in the arm once more.

The flight attendant promptly informed the captain of the occurrence, and Dutton was met by police enforcement when he arrived in San Francisco.

Two additional passengers claim to have seen Dutton push the flight attendant, while others claim to have heard a disturbance during the alleged assault.

The flight attendant was sent to the hospital for evaluation after arriving. The claimed attack left bruising on the flight attendant’s arm, as seen in photos.

On November 16, Dutton is scheduled to appear in court.

Dutton could face a civil penalty of up to $35,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration in addition to criminal charges (FAA). The FAA has not yet decided whether Dutton should be fined for her alleged behavior aboard United Airlines flight UA730, according to the most recent data.

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