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Allen West won’t be charged over mask tussle at DFW Airport

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

West admitted physically confronting a man who called him out for not wearing a mask inside a DFW Airport terminal last year.

Allen West, chairman
Allen West, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, speaks during a Don’t Steal the Vote rally in support of President Donald Trump in front of Dallas City Hall on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (Juan Figueroa/ The Dallas Morning News)(Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer)

By Michael Williams

Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Allen West will not be prosecuted over his involvement in an altercation over face masks at DFW International Airport last year, a Grapevine Municipal Court administrator said Monday.

West said he was walking through an airport terminal on Nov. 3 maskless when a man called him an idiot for not wearing a face covering. DFW, like all airports, requires passengers to wear a mask over their nose and mouth while walking through terminals.

A previous statement from West’s campaign said he walked over to the man, later identified as Lawrence Stern, and responded by “flicking” off Stern’s face mask; West said on Twitter he pulled down Stern’s mask and said, “See, nothing happened.”

DFW Airport police responded and took a report, and West and Stern went their separate ways.

Stern previously told The Dallas Morning News West “violently” tore his mask off and said he wanted to see West charged over the incident. Stern told police he wasn’t hurt, and authorities saw no marks on his face, according to a police report.

Neither Stern nor spokespeople for West responded to requests for comment Monday. A prosecutor for the City of Grapevine also did not respond to a request for comment.

West, a former congressman from Florida and ex-head of the Texas GOP, is a staunch opponent of vaccine and mask mandates. He’s running to the right of incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Early voting in the primary continues until Friday. The election is March 1.

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