Pushback Against Masks Turns Deadly

'Mr. Munerlyn was simply doing his job'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2020 9:00 AM CDT
Pushback Against Masks Turns Deadly
In this Sunday, May 3, 2020, photo, Maalik Mitchell, 20 of Flint, copes with the death of his father Calvin Munerlyn, kneeling next to a display of candles that spell out Munerlyn's nickname "Duper" during a vigil in Flint, Mich.   (Jake May/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)

The fatal shooting of a security guard at a Family Dollar in Michigan over a face mask argument is the most violent dispute yet related to the backlash over coronavirus safety restrictions. But police are investigating a spate of other incidents around the country as well. Coverage:

  • In Flint: Police say Sharmel Teague, 45, entered a Dollar Store with her unidentified daughter, in her 20s. Teague was wearing a mask, but her daughter was not, and security guard Calvin Munerlyn ordered the daughter to leave, reports the Detroit News. After he and Teague argued, police say she left and returned 20 minutes later with her husband, Larry Teague, and son, Ramonyea Bishop, and they accused Munerlyn of "disrepecting" Sharmel Teague, police say. Witnesses say Bishop, 23, shot Munerlyn in the head, according to prosecutors. All three have been charged in the killing, and the men are still at large.
  • The victim: Munerlyn was a married father of nine, including three stepchildren, reports the Detroit Free Press. "From all indications, Mr. Munerlyn was simply doing his job in upholding the governor's executive order related to the COVID-19 pandemic," says the Genesee County prosecutor. (Michigan has seen big protests over the rules.) A GoFundMe page for the man nicknamed "Duper" had raised more than $160,000 as of Tuesday morning.

  • Another in Michigan: Police in Holly are looking for a man who wiped his nose on the sleeve of a Dollar Tree customer when ordered to wear a mask, reports the Free Press.
  • In Illinois: Police charged a 59-year-old man in Decatur with battery after they say he refused to wear a mask while paying for gas and shoved an employee, reports the Herald-Review.
  • In Ohio: Gov. Mike DeWine ordered residents to wear masks on April 27, but he reversed himself the next day after people expressed outrage, reports Politico. “It became clear to me that that was just a bridge too far," said the governor. "People were not going to accept the government telling them what to do."
  • And this in California: A man in Santee, near San Diego, was pictured in a Ku Klux Klan hood while shopping at a supermarket, reports the Los Angeles Times. Store employees say they repeatedly asked the white man to remove the hood or leave, and he finally took it off when a store supervisor ordered him to do so while in the checkout lane. The incident took place a day after rules went into place mandating face coverings in public in San Diego County. Police are investigating, per the Times of San Diego.
  • More generally: The New York Times has a broader look at those protesting coronavirus restrictions. It seems to be a wide-ranging mix of "resurrected Tea Party activists, armed militia groups and protesters carrying Confederate flags, as well as some merely demanding to open their businesses." Anti-vaxxers also are out in force. "There is a tremendous amount of cross-pollinization of ideas as these factions get to know each other,” Devin Burghart of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights tells the newspaper.
(Read more Family Dollar stories.)

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