The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a rash of uncivil and illegal conduct aboard passenger flights across the United States.
Now, the FBI has reportedly arrested a woman accused of attacking an elderly man on a jet because he was not wearing a mask.
Bizarre attack caught on camera
According to police, Patricia Cornwall’s behavior was caught on video in footage that has since gone viral online. A woman can be seen apparently standing over the 80-year-old man before physically attacking him and spitting on him as he had his mask off during a meal.
The suspect was quickly arrested and was awaiting a hearing on federal charges in Atlanta, Georgia, as of Monday.
As evidenced in the disturbing video clip, Americans remain deeply divided over the issue of face masks and other pandemic-related public health recommendations.
For her part, Cornwall allegedly assaulted an elderly man in pursuit of her desire to see everyone around her masked.
According to reports, the incident occurred aboard a flight from Tampa Bay, Florida, to Atlanta on Thursday.
“Zero tolerance for unruly behavior”
Delta Airlines has since issued its own statement regarding the disruption aboard one of its flights.
“Flight 2790 from Tampa to Atlanta was met by law enforcement after an unruly customer disturbance during flight,” the company acknowledged. “Situations like these are rare for the vast majority of our customers and Delta has zero tolerance for unruly behavior at our airports and aboard our aircraft.”
The fact that the assailant apparently felt justified for such action is a testament to the level of division sparked in part by progressive politicians and pundits who have advocated for widespread and strict mask mandates.
Cornwall’s case could serve as a symbol for the cultural clash surrounding COVID-19, and former prosecutor Darryl Cohen predicts the suspect could end up with a hefty consequence if convicted.
“She could be charged with a felony by interfering with the lawful duties of not one, but two, I think maybe three flight attendants because they had to restrain her and continually ask her to stop,” Cohen advised. “She is potentially facing both misdemeanor and felony charges.”