‘Delta Karen’ Patricia Cornwall Arrested For Assaulting Man On Flight Over Mask Mandate
A woman has been arrested for assault after she punched and spat on a man on a Delta Airline flight. The woman was identified as Patricia Cornwall, 51, of Los Angeles. The dispute began on Thursday over Cornwall’s unruly behavior on Flight 2790 from Tampa, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia, including her refusal to wear a mask.
According to reports, Cornwall had attempted to return to her seat from the restroom, but was blocked by the beverage service cart in the aisle. She asked the flight attendant to help her find her seat, and the flight attendant requested that she wait in an available seat until the beverage service had ended.
“What am I? Rosa Parks?” Cornwall allegedly replied mockingly. Cornwall is white.
In response to the comment, a male passenger, identified only as R.S.M., reportedly told her that “it was an inappropriate comment.” He added, calling her a popular term to describe an entitled and demanding white woman, “Sit down, Karen.”
Cornwall shouted at the man and exchanged insults with him.
An Atlanta news account, @ATLUncensored, shared a video that another passenger recorded of the incident. In the video, multiple flight attendants are seen attempting to quiet the altercation. They warned Cornwall that if she continued, police would apprehend her upon landing. They also told her to put on her mask, which is mandated on all flights through at least March 2022.
Delta flight from Tampa to Atlanta got crazy‼️ pic.twitter.com/I9BZUKv3LB
— ATL Uncensored (@ATLUncensored) December 25, 2021
Cornwall demanded that the man put his mask on first. He explained that he was in the middle of eating and drinking. Mask removal while eating and drinking is permitted on flights.
The two passengers continued to insult each other with derogatory terms. Then, Cornwall smacked him across the face.
“Now you’re going to jail! That’s assault,” said R.S.M.
Cornwall then spat on his face. “Now you spit on me!” he said. “Now you’re double going to jail.”
Cornwall attempted to slap him multiple times, which he claimed resulted in her scratching him.
Attendants finally succeeded in detaining Cornwall and leading her away. She was arrested upon arrival to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Her bond was set at $20,000, but she will be allowed to fly back to her home in Southern California if she follows the judge’s requirements. She will have to use a different airline, however, as Delta has placed her on its no-fly list.
If found guilty of the Class A misdemeanor, Cornwall could face up to a year in prison and a fine up to $100,000. She did not submit a plea during her initial court appearance on Monday.
Delta spokesman Drake Castañeda said in a statement, “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 Federal Aviation Administration has reported 5,553 incidents of unruly behavior on flights in 2021, the vast majority of them due to defiance of mask regulations. Last month, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a directive to federal authorities to prioritize the prosecution of crimes on airplanes.
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