Delta Airlines ‘Karen’ Compared Herself to Rosa Parks

Delta Karen and Rosa Parks (Credit: Walton County Sheriff’s Office/ASU)

The Los Angeles woman arrested last week for slapping a fellow passenger on a Delta Airlines flight compared herself to Civil Rights trailblazer Rosa Parks, according to the criminal complaint obtained by CNN.

Patricia Cornwall, 51, was on board Flight 2790 from Tampa to Atlanta when the incident unfolded on Dec. 23.

Cornwall was trying to get back to her seat from the bathroom, but a flight attendant with a beverage cart was blocking the aisle. The flight attendant reportedly told her to take any open seat until they finished handing out drinks. Cornwall responded to the flight attendant, “What am I Rosa Parks?” the complaint says.

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An elderly male passenger sitting nearby heard Cornwall comparing herself to the Black Civil Rights champion who refused to give up her seat on a bus in 1950s Alabama. The elderly man, who is white, told Cornwall she was out of line, saying she “isn’t Black… this isn’t Alabama and this isn’t a bus.”

The man then told her, “Sit down, Karen! You’re a goddamn Karen, sit down!” according to video of the confrontation posted online by ATL Uncensored.

As other passengers and the flight attendant tried to intervene, the two started telling each other to “mask up.” Moments later, Cornwall is seen in the video punching, grabbing and spitting in the man’s face. He tells her, “You’re going to jail, Karen.”

Cornwall was arrested at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport by Atlanta police, and later taken into custody by the FBI. She is facing a federal assault charge, and was released on $20,000 bond. If found guilty, she could face up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

She works as a real estate agent. The New York Post reported she received her real estate license in California in 2013, and is listed online as an agent with Coldwell Banker Realty.

Before getting into real estate, Cornwall was an actress under the stage name Patty Breton. She had a small part on Baywatch. She also previously worked as a Raiders cheerleader when the team played in Los Angeles.