SAN FRANCISCO—Authorities arrested 44-year-old Joshua Colby Council at the Salt Lake City International Airport after he refused to wear a face mask on a flight bound for San Francisco, the Desert News first reported. The incident occurred on Wednesday, November 25. 

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Delta Airlines has banned more than 500 individuals from its flights for refusing to wear masks. 

Joshua Colby bypassed the gate agent at about 10:40 p.m. and began walking down the jetway to board the plane when he was stopped by an agent who demanded he put on a mask. 

While seated on Delta flight 1382, he argued with flight attendants, the captain, gate agents, and a manager, who urged him to put on a mask. The affidavit described him as “argumentative,” as he “explicably refused to comply.” 

“Police were summoned after Delta management determined Council was no longer on the aircraft and needed to be escorted off the plane,” according to the affidavit. He “refused to disembark when requested to do so by Delta employees.” 

The aircraft’s dozens of passengers had to disembark in order for Council to leave. Once the plane was empty, he agreed to leave. He refused to provide his identity to the police at the gate and was arrested. The flight was delayed 45 minutes.  

Delta Airlines released a statement apologizing for the delay, that read:

“We apologize to customers for the delay on Flight 1382 on Wednesday as a passenger was removed from the flight for mask non-compliance.”

Council was booked into the Salt Lake City County jail of disorderly conduct and refusal to comply with a police order. He was released on condition that he agree to appear on an upcoming court date. 

According to data from Worldometer, a reference website that provides real-time statistics on diverse subjects, and has gained popularity due to hosting statistics relating to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the city of Salt Lake City has seen daily cases ranging from some 2,000 to 4,500 over the course of the month of November. 

During the summer surge of the pandemic, the peak in daily cases was 77,378, on July 16. The fall peak in COVID cases was 204,166 on November 20.

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As a 24-year old college graduate with a BA in History, and with political interests mainly in international relations in Europe and the Middle East, I hope to use my strengths in modern world history to contribute to news stories covering my main areas of interest. Though the focus of the San Francisco News is local news, there is a newfound dedication to give a voice to community members in need, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The political year known as 2020 has also given the people much to be anxious about, and I hope to give them a voice.