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Delta passenger arrested after boarding jet without mask, refusing to leave, police say

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(Michael Calloway, CNN)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Police arrested a 44-year-old man on Wednesday after he refused to wear a face mask on a flight leaving Salt Lake City International Airport.

Police say Joshua Colby Council bypassed the gate agent about 10:40 p.m. and began walking down the jetway to board the plane bound for San Francisco. An agent followed him and demanded that he put on a face mask.

Council, "for unknown reasons, refused to obey the gate agent and boarded the aircraft without complying with her request," a police booking affidavit states.

After boarding the Delta plane, Council stayed seated while flight attendants, the captain, gate agents and a manager asked him to put on a mask. Council "became argumentative" and "inexplicably refused to comply," the affidavit states.

"Police were summoned after Delta management determined (Council) was no longer welcome aboard the aircraft and needed to be escorted off the plane," according to the affidavit. "Defendant refused to disembark when requested to do so by Delta employees."

Once police officers arrived, they said Council also refused their requests to leave the plane.

"The aircraft's passengers (several dozen) had to be disembarked in order to safely remove" Council from the airplane, the affidavit says. Once the plane was empty, he agreed to leave.

At the gate, Council then allegedly refused to provide his identity to police and was arrested. The flight was delayed 45 minutes.

Delta Airlines released a statement on Saturday apologizing to its customers for the delay and said, "There is nothing more important than the safety of our people and customers."

Council was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of disorderly conduct for refusing to comply with a police order. He was released on condition that he agree to appear at an upcoming court date.


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Wendy Leonard is a deputy news director at Prior to this, she was a reporter for the Deseret News since 2004, covering a variety of topics, including health and medicine, police and courts, government and other issues relating to family.


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