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Ten months after the worst pandemic in more than a century – one that has resulted in over 380,000 deaths in the United States, including more than 4,400 in Colorado – some people are still so outraged at the need to wear a mask in public I will express their frustration in a way that begs for a prison term.
Case in point: the Aurora Police Department is currently seeking help from the public to find the man pictured above. He is accused of attacking a gas station worker who had the courage to put on a mask.
This isn’t the only case of anti-masking sentiment currently circulating virus-like in Colorado. They are so prevalent that an organization tracking the safety of COVID-19 is monitoring online examples of anger over face covering, including documented violence threats.
The just-uncovered Aurora incident occurred at around 10:45 a.m. on January 4th at the Sinclair outpost at 14401 East Sixth Avenue. According to the APD, a company employee asked the man to put on a face mask, and in response, “the suspect attacked the employee and caused serious bodily harm to the face.”
The man then shared the scene in a blue Audi A-series vehicle with a temporary label, reports the APD.
Another angle on the suspect and a look at the blue Audi in which he fled.
Such behavior does not surprise the folks behind Colorado COVID Watch, a group that documented changing guidelines for the use of masks at Natural Grocers and petitioned Governor Jared Polis to enforce laws related to the novel coronavirus .
On December 27th, the CCW flagged an article on an anti-masker forum in Colorado that read, “It is time to realize that the enemy is the thugs in the public health department who politically imprison you and enforce masks. Start in protest their offices. block them from coming or going. Beatings are okay. “
Similar online comments surfaced after a protest outside Polis’ house. Examples are “Somebody should have set it on fire!” and “We will not win unless we fight fire with fire!”
A more direct warning was sent to Colorado COVID Watch: “Fuck you with a Nazi mask that wears pieces of absolute SHIT! You belong to a toilet that is off this earth. One day we’re going to put you 6 feet below the ground. .. “
Members of the organization reported this latest incident to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, which, according to CCW, established the sender’s identity. Rather than press charges, the CCW asked a sheriff’s representative to contact the person, which reportedly happened on December 23. Merry Christmas, bastard.
If you recognize the suspect depicted in this post, or if you have more information on the case, contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).
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Michael Roberts has been writing for Westword since October 1990 and has worked as a music editor and media columnist. It currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.