Woman who allegedly shoved flight attendant over mask requirement makes first court appearance

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A woman from Texas who allegedly pushed a flight attendant who asked her husband to mask up aboard the plane from Alaska to San Francisco appeared in the court on Friday.

Debby Dutton of Cypress, Texas, 50, along with his husband, identified only as “J.D.”, based on the criminal complaint, took the flight last June 29, 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California said.

Aboard the aircraft, flight attendants announced several safety measures for passengers including the wearing of face masks as required by the federal government on commercial flights. It was made clear to the passengers that an attendant will call their attention even if their mask fell off while they were sleeping.

Many passengers do not properly wear face masks after about three hours of the flight. An attendant noticed it and saw Dutton’s husband as among the passengers who wore the mask improperly.

To call his attention, the flight attendant tapped J.D.’s shoulder and asked if he could properly wear the mask. Then, J.D.’s wife, who was sitting beside him, reportedly became furious. Dutton allegedly got up from her seat, approached the flight attendant, and shoved the attendant twice.

The complaint furthered that Dutton went back to her seat per her husband’s instruction. The incident was reported by the attendant to the captain. They said the push was painful and she was afraid.

After the plane reached the San Francisco International Airport, the flight attendant was given medical attention. The federal prosecutors said the flight attendant sustained a bruise on the right bicep.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California said Dutton faces charges with a maximum jail term of 20 years, on top of a fine. Included in the charges are threat and interference by assault.

After her initial court appearance in Houston, Texas, Dutton is set to face Houston’s federal court on Tuesday, SFGATE reported.

Prosecutors at the federal level want to get an order to have Dutton be slammed with charges in San Francisco federal court.