Prosecutors: Flyer refused to wear mask, exposed himself


FILE: A Boeing 757-2Q8 operated by Delta Airlines takes off from JFK Airport on August 24, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(The Hill) – Prosecutors said a Delta Air Lines passenger who refused to wear a mask during a flight exposed himself to other passengers and threw a can at an individual, The New York Times reported

In a case unsealed Friday, Shane McInerney of Galway, Ireland was arrested and charged with intentionally assaulting and intimidating a crew member during a flight earlier this month. 

According to the court document, authorities said McInerney refused to wear his mask despite being asked “dozens” of times during the eight-hour Jan. 7 flight from Dublin to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

McInerney began to throw an empty beverage can which hit another passenger in the head and kicked the seatback in front of him, which disturbed the passenger in front of him, according to The Times. 

As he walked away from his first-class airline seat to complain to the flight attendant about the food service, McInerney then “pulled down his pants and underwear and exposed his buttocks” to flight attendants and passengers sitting nearby, according to the court document. 

The document also said during the flight, McInerney took off the flight captain’s hat twice while he was on break, also putting up a closed fist toward the captain’s face, saying, “Don’t touch me.” 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been more reports of unruly and sometimes violent behavior by airline passengers, with many of the reported disturbances involving those who refuse to wear masks. 

McInerney, 29, could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. 

McInerney made his initial appearance in court last week and was released on a $20,000 bond, the Times noted.

National travel reporter Dayvee Sutton joined NewsNation Prime to discuss what is takes for an incident to cause a flight to turn around and your rights as a traveler.

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