I-TEAM: Mask rage erupting in local stores in wake of new requirements

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM has uncovered exclusive video showing tempers flaring in stores over rules requiring everyone to wear a mask, and we’ve found what you might call “mask rage” happening nationwide.

The latest local incident happened Thursday evening at West 102 and Madison in Cleveland at a convenience store.

A Cleveland police dispatcher said on police radio, “Our caller says he’s in fear for his life. He got threatened because he told a customer he needed a mask.”

A sign on the door says you have to wear a mask. And a worker at the store reminds people about that. But security video shows a customer with no mask getting into a confrontation with that worker.

The worker told the I-TEAM, “This guy just got really nasty with me. Called me all kinds of words. Followed me in here. Asking me to go outside, and he would kick my rear.”

He added, “I was very scared….(he was) a big man. You’re not coming in here without a mask. Thank God, he didn’t do anything.”

What happened there has also been happening in other states. including Florida and Pennsylvania. Some of the incidents around the country have also led to guns pulled and sometimes shots fired.

Last month, Shaker Heights Police got a 911 call from a store, and that call shows tension started long before Ohio’s Governor and local leaders started issuing orders to wear a mask in public.

On that call, the store clerk said, “I have a lady in my store. I’ve told her 3 times. She won’t comply with me.” The dispatcher asks, “Does she have a mask on? Or,  she’s not wearing it properly? The caller answered, “She has it around her throat. I told her, raise it up above her nose.”

Taking another look at the order to wear a mask in some counties sent out by Ohio’s Governor, you see a list of  exceptions. But in general, the order includes indoor places that are not your home.

Back at the store, we noticed the customer who’d been in the dispute the night before had returned. This time he had a mask. He called what happened a misunderstanding, and he denies making any threats. No charges were filed.

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