Man Arrested Following Alleged Assault on Walmart Employee Over Face Mask

A 52-year-old man has been arrested after allegedly assaulting a Walmart employee over a dispute involving face masks in Manitoba, Canada.

The man refused to wear a mask inside the Selkirk store despite being urged by a staff member to wear one, the Royal Canadian Mountain Police (RCMP) told Newsweek.

Officers arrived at the store, 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) northeast of Winnipeg, around 3:45 p.m. on September 23 after receiving reports of an assault, RCMP said.

Police said the man had repeatedly ignored requests to wear a mask and proceeded to walk down an aisle instead.

After he was followed by an employee and asked to again wear his mask, RCMP said the man turned around and pushed the employee and threatened him.

"An altercation then ensued between the victim and the other male shopper that involved threats and pushing," RCMP said.

Another customer in the store at the time said he also confronted the man about not wearing a mask.

"I challenged him that he should be wearing a mask, and he turned around and took about two steps toward me and said if I came within six feet of him, he was going to f***ing kill me," Bob Lee told 680 CJOB.

"He shoved me back as hard as he could. I'd seen it coming and I braced myself, so there was no harm done."

Lee corroborated the employee's account, saying he saw a staff member approach the man only to be ignored.

"One of the Walmart managers approached him and indicated to him he should be wearing a mask and he said, 'I don't have to,' so I thought at that point it was appropriate to contact the RCMP about having assault charges laid—which they did after viewing the videotape," Lee explained.

The Canadian province of Manitoba came under new Code Orange restrictions on Monday, meaning masks are now required to be worn in public.

The 52-year-old man from the Rural Municipality of St. Clements was arrested and charged with assault and uttering threats.

He is scheduled to appear in Selkirk court later this year on December 11. The charges against him have not been proven in court.

"No one has the right to verbally threaten or physically assault another individual. The RCMP will always fully investigate these matters and lay the required charges," a spokesman for RCMP Manitoba told Newsweek.

It's not the first time a confrontation has occurred with customers over wearing face masks at a Walmart.

In August, a couple was arrested at a Yuma, Arizona, Walmart after intentionally coughing on store employees.

Frank Montoya and Victoria Parra Carranza refused to wear face masks inside the store and would not leave when Walmart management tried to eject them from the premises, the Yuma Police Department said.

Earlier in September, a woman wearing a "Shed the Mask" T-shirt filmed herself crying in a grocery store in Texas after she was refused service for not wearing a mask.

The woman, identified as Katie Bug, said she was "harassed" for not wearing a mask, claiming she was exempt due to mental health reasons.

However, she later cited a conspiracy theory retweeted by President Donald Trump that claims only 9,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. as a reason for not wearing a mask.

Walmart Selkirk
Google Maps image of Selkirk's Walmart. A Manitoba man allegedly refused to wear a mask inside the store despite being urged by a staff member to wear one. Google Maps