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Passenger Removed From Flight for Refusing to Wear Mask

A political activist was removed from an American Airlines flight traveling from New York to Dallas after refusing to wear a face-covering on Wednesday.

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Brandon Straka, an ex-liberal and founder of the #WalkAway campaign, was deplaned at LaGuardia Airport before being rebooked on a later flight after eventually agreeing to the airline’s mandatory mask policy.

“After he refused to comply with the instructions provided by the flight crew, our team members asked him to deplane. He deplaned and the flight departed the gate four minutes late at 12:34 p.m. ET,” the airline said in a statement to CNN.

“I was just removed from my flight for not wearing a mask,” Straka wrote in a Twitter post shortly after the incident. “1st time this has happened. Not a federal law. @AmericanAir staff standing over me telling me it’s THE LAW. So much for ‘please respect those who can not wear a mask.’ When I pointed out this wasn’t a law I was removed.”

Some of Straka’s conversation with flight crew was captured on video by a fellow passenger and New York Times reporter Astead Herndon.

The airline said that it is reaching out to Straka for more information about the incident.

Wednesday’s incident comes just days after American and other airlines announced they would be enforcing mandatory mask requirements more strictly. While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) encourages the use of face-coverings during air travel, the agency is leaving enforcement up to the individual airlines.