CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Police Warn Against Being ‘Mask Enforcers’ After Alleged Assault

Jul 20, 2020, 6:50 PM | Updated: 8:25 pm

PARK CITY, Utah — Many businesses are trying to slow the spread of COVID-19 by requiring customers to wear masks, but it has caused some problems as a Taylorsville woman claims she was assaulted for not wearing a mask at a Park City Walmart. Police are now searching for the suspect.

The 47-year-old woman told police that when she entered the Walmart on Saturday, a man started screaming at her and shouted, “Thanks for not wearing a mask.”

Investigators said he then started to ram his cart into her cart.

“She claims that the impact of the cart as she was holding onto it caused some [back] pain to her,” said Lt. Andrew Wright with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. “We are investigating this as an assault. The statue says if you cause bodily injury to other people, it can be considered simple assault.”

The woman claims she had a medical condition and couldn’t wear a mask.

Police said it’s not the public’s job to patrol people wearing masks.

“It’s not people’s responsibility to be the mask police. We tell people that all the time. Mind your own business, do your part, and wear a mask,” said Wright. “If you allow your emotions to get involved like in this case, now you’ve turned it into a criminal investigation and we don’t want that to happen.”

The man left the store without leaving any identification, so police are still searching for him.

The incident happened just a few days before Walmart made it mandatory that all shoppers wear a mask when entering the store. That went into effect Monday.

Many shoppers said they were happy to see the new policy at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores.

“Oh yeah, I think it’s the best thing. It’s what needs to happen everywhere,” said shopper Quinn Osborne.

“I think that wearing a mask is the safest way to go,” said shopper Kenna Fullmer.

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Police Warn Against Being ‘Mask Enforcers’ After Alleged Assault