37-year-old Gill Parker Payne, of Gastonia, North Carolina was on a South Airlines flight from Chicago to Albuquerque on Dec. 11 2015 when he saw a woman wearing a hijab sitting several rows in front of him. Authorities say Payne approached her and told her to take it off, she refused saying it was a religious headscarf, then he responded, “This is America!” He then removed the hijab from her head.
The woman reported the incident to the Police and Payne got arrested. He was charged with using force or threat of force to obstruct a Muslim woman in the free exercise of her religious beliefs.
He appeared in court on Friday and pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor charge.
He didn’t go to jail but was fined.