The incident took place after the passenger found the corridor of one of the bathrooms to her seat blocked by a cart of drinks. The woman exchanged words with a passenger and then punched him in the head with a clenched fist, according to an unsealed criminal complaint obtained by CNN.
The man told an FBI investigator that the woman spat at his face and head area, the court document says.
Patricia Cornwall, 51, made her first appearance Monday afternoon in federal court in Atlanta. He is accused of “assaulting, hitting, injuring or injuring RSM in the special jurisdiction of U.S. aircraft,” the lawsuit says.
He was not asked or filed an allegation in court during the initial appearance.
If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, Cornwall could face up to one year in prison and up to a $ 100,000 fine.
CNN has contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Cornwall attorney Millie Dunn for comment, but has not received a response immediately.
The complaint states that the man described verbal and physical altercations
The criminal complaint says the FBI task force officer interviewed the passenger by phone and later watched a video of the incident on his cell phone.
“It corroborates the information provided by RSM. In addition, the video shows CORNWALL hitting RSM in the face,” Rudyard Jarrard, an Atlanta-based FBI task force officer, said in the complaint.
The man said Cornwall was returning from a toilet in the back of Flight Delta 2790, but a flight attendant serving drinks blocked the aisle, according to the complaint.
When Cornwall asked the flight attendant to help him find his seat, the flight attendant asked him to find an open seat until the beverage service was completed, the complaint says.
“(Cornwall) replied to the flight attendant, ‘What am Rosa Parks?'” The complaint reads.
The passenger said she told Cornwall it was an inappropriate comment and that she “is not black … this is not Alabama and this is not a bus”, according to the complaint.
The man allegedly told Cornwall that he was “sitting in Karen”, according to the complaint.
The court document says there was a verbal exchange, before Cornwall allegedly hit RSM and caused a visible head injury.
The video on social media seems to match the description of what happened
In this video, a woman with her mask under her chin is seen standing in the aisle of a plane calling for a man to put on his mask. The man responds by saying that she is eating and should not do so, and uses a sexist insult against her. Then the woman in this video is seen hitting and spitting on the man.
Atlanta police and the FBI declined to confirm that Cornwall is the woman seen in the video, or that it is a video of the same incident.
The unspecified video was made by an unspecified passenger.
The woman will be able to fly home
In court, federal judge Christopher Bly set Cornwall bail at $ 20,000 and, after extensive discussion with his lawyer, allowed him to return home to Los Angeles by plane, if he complied with the requirements set by the judge. .
However, Cornwall will not fly to Delta; her lawyer confirmed in court proceedings that Delta placed her on a no-fly list.
The judge also ordered that, apart from his flight home, Cornwall may not travel with any interstate commercial carrier (plane, bus or train) while on bail.
Delta spokesman Grant Myatt confirmed to CNN that Flight 2790 was “complied with by law enforcement after an undisciplined disturbance of the customer during the flight.”
“Situations like these are rare for the vast majority of our customers, and Delta has zero tolerance for rebellious behavior at our airports and on board our planes,” Myatt told CNN.
The Atlanta police department said in a press release that officers met with the flight at the airport gate and arrested Cornwall.
The Cornish lawyer confirmed to the court that he had been in prison since 23 December.
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