Texan lassoed. Federal charges against woman who assaulted flight attendant

Today’s example of People Behaving Badly during the Pandemic.

The behavior of some travelers during the Pandemic defies the imagination.  

A Texan on a United Airlines lines assaulted a flight attendant who asked her husband to put on his mask to comply with Federal requirements.

The flight attendant was assaulted for doing her job.

The assailant has been indicted and will now pay the price for her arrogance and stupidity. The State of Texas has been one of the most strident about ignoring and disobeying Covid-19 safety mandates. It should come as no surprise that the accused hails from the Lone Star State.

San Francisco Chronicle 11.14.2021

A Texas woman accused of assaulting a flight attendant who told the woman’s husband to put on his face mask while en route to San Francisco was charged with interfering with aircraft operations, and faces a potential 20-year prison term if convicted.

Debby Dutton, 50, of Cypress, Texas, who is out of custody, appeared before a federal magistrate judge in Houston on Friday in the case involving the incident on a June 29 United Airlines flight from Anchorage to San Francisco, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California. Prosecutors were pursing a judge’s order to require she face the charge in federal court in San Francisco.

Flight assault II 11.14.2021.jpg

The alleged assault was among a string of recent violent incidents reported on aircraft, a number of them confrontations over pandemic mask rules. Mask requirements, meant to stop the spread of COVID-19, are fueling a dramatic increase in reports of unruly passengers interfering with air crew duties, putting staff and passengers and employees at risk, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The federal government this month reported that 5,114 unruly passenger reports have been filed this year, a fivefold increase from 2020.

Dutton and her husband had been in the air about 3½ hours when the flight attendant walked down the aisle to collect trash and check for mask compliance, officials said.

The attendant tapped the shoulder of Dutton’s sleeping husband and asked him to replace his mask, which had slipped down his face, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The husband complied, but Dutton appeared to become enraged, getting up from her seat and yelling, “You don’t touch my husband, why you wake him!” according to the criminal complaint.

Dutton followed the flight attendant down the aisle, shouting and pushing the attendant multiple times, according to the complaint. She finally returned to her seat at her husband’s request, according to prosecutors. The flight attendant reported the incident to the captain.

The altercation left bruises on the flight attendant’s bicep, prosecutors said.

After landing, San Francisco International Airport police officers interviewed the flight attendant and several passengers.