Pilot Cited for Assault After Mask Dispute

This one erupted between Southwest crew members at San Jose hotel bar
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2021 10:55 AM CDT
This Mask Dispute Was Between Flight Attendant, Pilot
A Southwest Airlines flight takes off from the Portland International Jetport in Portland, Maine, on Oct. 13.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, file)

A Southwest Airlines flight crew was enjoying an evening at a hotel bar in California last month when a mask dispute erupted between a flight attendant and a pilot, who's now accused of assault. An airline rep told USA Today there was a "crew disagreement during an overnight trip" in San Jose on Oct. 18 but didn't go into particulars. Sgt. Christian Camarillo of the San Jose Police Department said only that "the event involved a disagreement over mask wearing or masks."

The unidentified pilot was cited for alleged assault and battery. The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office will now determine whether charges should be laid. Southwest confirmed the pilot is on leave while it investigates. The airline had put out an Oct. 22 statement referring to employee confrontations, though it made no mention of this particular event.

"Many of our people have been faced with an uncomfortable situation where their beliefs are not shared by someone else, resulting in a confrontation of some kind," the memo read, per USA Today. "It is vital that we treat everyone with respect and honor our differences without pushing our ideals on someone else" as "crossing the line in a heated conversation can be a violation of our guidelines for employees and can even end in loss of job." Meanwhile, per CBS News, a flight attendants union said, "As with all flight attendants we represent, we will support our member." (More Southwest Airlines stories.)

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