Portland man charged with trying to open airplane emergency exit during flight

PORTLAND, Ore. – A Portland man is facing federal charges after he allegedly tried to open a commercial airline emergency exit so he could get attention regarding his views on COVID-19 vaccines.

The Department of Justice said on February 11, 32-year-old Michael Brandon Demarre was aboard a Delta Airlines flight from Portland to Salt Lake City when witnesses saw him forcefully pulling the emergency exit door handle during flight.

A flight attendant told Demarre to stop touching the handle, which he did. He was then moved to the back of the plane and physically restrained as the aircraft returned to Portland.

Once back in Portland, Demarre told police he engaged the emergency exit handle so other passengers would record him, thereby giving him the opportunity to share his thoughts on COVID-19 vaccines.

Demarre was charged with threatening to interfere and interfering with a flight crew and attendants. He’ll remain detained pending further court proceedings.

The case is being investigated by the FBI with help from the Portland Police Bureau.

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