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Man facing charges over anti-mask confrontation in Victoria grocery store

Click to play video 'Video captures confrontation over mandatory mask at Victoria market' Video captures confrontation over mandatory mask at Victoria market
Video captures confrontation over mandatory mask at Victoria market – Nov 28, 2020

Police in Victoria, B.C. arrested a man Friday in the latest confrontation over the province’s new order requiring masks in indoor public places to combat COVID-19.

Police say they were called to a grocery store in the 900 block of Yates Street around 10:30 a.m., to reports of a man physically and verbally confronting staff over his refusal to wear a mask.

Read more: Walmart employee in Dawson Creek, B.C., attacked after asking man to wear mask

Video posted to Reddit and shared by police shows a man standing face-to-face with a group of employees, calling them “psychopaths.”

“I’m going to take the cop and knock his (expletive) lights out, that’s what I’m going to do, watch,” the man says, before exiting the store.

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Click to play video 'Charges pending after B.C. man reacts violently to request to wear a mask' Charges pending after B.C. man reacts violently to request to wear a mask
Charges pending after B.C. man reacts violently to request to wear a mask – Nov 26, 2020

The person who shot the video told Global News the man had stormed into the store aggressively and began yelling about the mask policy.

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When staff told him they’d called police, he bragged that he was going to fight officers, the witness said.

Read more: Woman in Nelson, B.C. suffers heart attack after being spit upon by man refusing to wear mask

Police say staff had offered the man a mask, which he refused.

“When patrol officers arrived, the man approached them in a threatening manner,” police said in a media release.

The man was arrested, and issued a $230 fine under the Covid Related Measures Act for abusive or belligerent behaviour, police said.

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Court records show Robert Smith has been charged with assault with a weapon and uttering threats.