Two people charged in the assault of a Dawson Creek Walmart employee over B.C.'s COVID-19 mask order have been named.
The B.C. Prosecution Service has confirmed to PrinceGeorgeMatters Alex Taylor has been charged with Assault and one count of Mischief under $5,000 involving damage to the victim's cellphone.
Kennedy Jane Pace, the female involved with the November 2020 incident, has also been charged with Assault.
An arrest warrant was issued for Pace, who has since has turned herself in according to Dawson Creek RCMP S/Sgt. Damon Werrell.
The detachment also corrected a previous announcement after originally stating a warrant was also issued for Taylor.
A warrant had been issued for Pace, who has since turned herself in according to Dawson Creek RCMP. Taylor faces Assault and Mischief charges while Pace faces a single charge of Assault #bcpoli #covid19 #cityofpg #dawsoncreek @PGMatters— Jess Balzer (@jessicajbalzer) January 6, 2021
Police say the pair entered the store on Nov. 25 when an employee asked that they wear masks as it’s mandatory in B.C. for all indoor public and retail spaces, and Walmart itself has also made masks mandatory in all of its Canadian stores.
In the video, which has since been taken down, the male suspect was seen pinning the employee to the ground and began repeatedly punching them in the head.
Mounties said, in the early stages of the investigation, the victim suffered minor injuries and didn’t require immediate medical attention.
When contacted by PrinceGeorgeMatters regarding posts on social media that allege the involved employee had been physical with the man's girlfriend, S/Sgt. Werrell said any decision on charges will be made by the B.C. Prosecution Service.
Dawson Creek RCMP say charges have been laid against two people involved in assaulting a Walmart employee back in Nov. when they were asked to wear masks when entering the store #bcpoli #covidBC #covid19bc #covid19 pic.twitter.com/oFxgIUYKeG— Jess Balzer (@jessicajbalzer) January 4, 2021
"While individuals may make a personal decision to not wear a face mask, they must then not attend indoor public spaces,” he said.
"RCMP have a responsibility to enforce the face mask Provincial Health Order under the Emergency Program Act. Individuals whom refuse to wear a mask, exhibit abusive or belligerent behavior, or fail to comply with patron conditions or requirements may be fined up to an amount of $230.”
In a separate statement to PrinceGeorgeMatters, Walmart Canada says the incident was completely unacceptable and deeply troubling.
"[On Nov. 25], one of our associates asked a customer to wear a mask in our store. Masks save lives, are required by government order in British Columbia, and are mandatory in all Walmart stores across the country.
"Instead of complying, the customer attacked and assaulted our associate. This incident is completely unacceptable and deeply troubling. Our associates are doing everything they can to support our communities during this pandemic. You can be sure that Walmart will support our associate.
"At the same time, we will cooperate fully with the police investigation to ensure the perpetrator is held accountable for this crime. We would like to thank the Dawson Creek RCMP for their quick response last night.
"We know this behaviour does not reflect our customers in Dawson Creek and they will join with us in condemning this assault. Our thoughts are with our associate as he recovers from his injuries."
The B.C. Prosecution Service says both are scheduled to make their first court appearances on Feb. 23 in Dawson Creek.
- with files from Kyle Balzer, PrinceGeorgeMatters