'You don't get to punch us, buddy': Confrontation with unmasked Canadian Tire customer under investigation
VANCOUVER -- Mounties confirmed they are investigating several videos that show a confrontation between a man who refused to wear a mask and staff at the Canadian Tire in Burnaby, B.C.
Shortly after 4 p.m. Monday, the RCMP detachment received a call about employees being assaulted.
“The information we got originally, and from the statements, is that he did punch some of the staff,” said Cpl. Michael Kalanj. “I do believe it was more than one person in an effort to not be escorted out of the store.”
The incident occurred at the store on Market Crossing, just off Marine Way.
Cellphone video taken by a bystander shows a man surrounded by several staff members, yelling, "Don’t touch me. My human rights are trumping your (expletive) mask mandates."
“You’re going to take your hands off me now,” he’s then heard saying as he holds up his cellphone, seemingly to record the encounter.
Video shows the man struggling to get away, as several men try to put him in handcuffs.
“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” he yells, just after holding up his fist.
Mounties returned to the store Tuesday to conduct further interviews and review surveillance footage from security cameras. It’s hoped the investigation will reveal what led up to the confrontation, and whether security staff used appropriate force to subdue the customers.
Canadian Tire issued a short statement.
“The matter is under investigation and we’re working with the RCMP as they examine the entire circumstances,” wrote spokesperson Cathy Kurzbock.
Another video, posted to Facebook by a user named Chris Ivany, appears to show what led to the heated altercation. Canadian Tire employees can be heard asking the man to leave, as another is about to call the police. Then a scuffled ensued.
“Hey, you’re done! Get out of the store!” an employee is heard yelling. “You don’t get to punch us, buddy!”
Ivany posted a caption under the video. It begins: “I just got home from spending a couple hours in a Burnaby RCMP jail cell…”
The video has since been removed from the account.
Mounties confirmed the man was taken into police custody shortly after the incident, and is being investigated for assault.