Anti-Masker Facing Charges After Refusing to Mask Up at Airport

February 17, 2022 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements

This far into the COVID-19 pandemic, almost anyone with a smartphone has seen a video of someone refusing to wear a mask being kicked out of a business or off of a flight. This usually occurs after the flight attendants, workers of said business, or even upper management get involved and repeatedly ask the individual to simply put on a mask as required. These requests fall on deaf ears when it comes to members of the “anti-mask movement,” a movement that believes “the threat of COVID-19 has been exaggerated,” “masks are ineffective” and in “political conservatism.” But can you be arrested for refusing to wear a mask? In some cases, yes.

What Happened at the Airport?

Recently, a man from Palm Shores refused to mask up, causing a commotion at the Melbourne Orlando International terminal. He was arrested on New Year’s Day for his disruption. The man in question? Daniel Chase, a sixty-three-year-old, who said of the controversy, “[w]hat is happening to our country? You can’t even go — in Florida — to just do normal everyday business, being a law-abiding citizen, because I wasn’t wearing a mask?” He claims the issue comes down to “control” and he was arrested because “[he] wasn’t complying properly enough.” Interestingly, all laws require compliance! And you can get arrested for not complying!

Chase is facing criminal charges, including trespassing and disorderly conduct, for standing at a rental car counter without wearing a legally required face mask. The Transportation Security Administration legally mandates that people in the airport must wear masks due to the still-present COVID-19 pandemic, a debilitating pandemic that has taken the lives of over 907,000 Americans. Now, you might be shocked! Why didn’t they warn him about the mandate? Did they just arrest him for failing to wear a mask outright? Nope, the police officer who arrested Chase informed him of the legal requirement and even gave him a mask to put on. However, Chase refused to comply and did not put on the facemask. Additionally, when you purchase an airline ticket, you agree to the terms and conditions, including any mandates regarding health and safety. Even still, the officer tried to reason with Chase, informing him again of the legal mandate.

According to the officer, “[t]he defendant then began to get agitated by saying masks don’t work and began cursing at me. The defendant then began yelling and screaming causing other patrons in the airport to stop and look … [t]he defendant was then advised if he refused to comply with the mask mandate, he could leave the airport. The defendant continued yelling and screaming causing a scene.”

After repeatedly refusing to comply with the legal mandate, cursing at the officer, refusing to leave the airport, and continuing to cause a scene, Chase was informed that he was now trespassing at the airport.

That seemed to strike a chord with Chase, who then affixed his mask and continued cursing out the officer. However, he was already trespassing at this point. When the officer asked him to leave the airport, Chase replied “after I rent my car.” Then, Chase was placed under arrest and transported to Brevard County Jail. He had a court appearance scheduled for February 1st.

This is not the first mask-related issue for Chase, who was fired from his job at Northrop Grumman because he refused to wear a mask.

Is a Mask Mandate a Law?

Effectively, yes. Mandates and laws are essentially the same thing. The only difference between them is how they begin. “Mandates are created and enacted by an executive branch, such as a state governor, rather than through a lengthier legislative process that ends with the governor’s signature and new, durable law. Mandates are also usually temporary, and deal with an urgent issue.”

Written by Gabi D’Esposito

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