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Confrontation over face mask leads to alleged assault in Park City store

(Exterior of the Walmart in Park City. Credit: KSL TV)

PARK CITY — Investigators in Summit County are looking for a man who they say assaulted a woman inside a Park City Walmart store for not wearing a mask. Officers say it rises to the level of an assault, even though he never physically touched her. 

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office was called to the Walmart at Kimball Junction on Saturday after the woman said a man confronted her about not wearing a mask.  She claims she has pre-existing conditions that keep her from wearing one. 

Summit County sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Wright says the man reportedly yelled, “Thanks for not wearing a mask,” then followed her and rammed his cart into hers.

 “She reported that he hit the shopping cart multiple times,” Wright says.

How does this rise to the level of “assault?”

“The definition of ‘assault’ in the state of Utah is if someone commits an act that caused bodily injury to another or creates a risk of substantial risk of bodily injury to another,” Wright says.

The woman reported being in substantial pain, even though the cart never touched her.  Wright says the woman has other medical conditions that affect her back.

“She described to the deputy that the impact of the shopping cart from this man repeatedly hitting her shopping cart with his shopping cart caused her pain,” Wright says.

The interaction was caught on video, but Wright says it’s not extremely clear. Investigators can see the man slammed his cart into the woman’s, but the man’s face isn’t recognizable in the video.  Managers stepped in between the two after this reportedly happened and asked the man to leave.  Wright says the man was reluctant to do so, but he eventually left before officers arrived.

Wright says he understands mask use is a hot-button issue in some parts of the state.  But he says people should either call security or police if they want to complain about someone not following a mask mandate. He added that it’s not the responsibility of individual citizens to enforce the rules.

“Have respect for other people. Really, just worry about yourself,” he says.