Calgary man convicted of shoving Costco employees, punching officer over mask enforcement

·2 min read
A Calgary man has been found guilty of assault after berating staff at a Costco store over COVID-19 rules on wearing face masks and later punching a police officer.  (Google Maps screengrab - image credit)
A Calgary man has been found guilty of assault after berating staff at a Costco store over COVID-19 rules on wearing face masks and later punching a police officer. (Google Maps screengrab - image credit)

A Calgary man has been found guilty of assaulting three staff members at a retail store and punching a police officer during a dustup about wearing a COVID-19 face mask last fall.

According to a written decision by provincial court Judge Cheryl Daniel released this week, the melee began on Nov. 26, 2020, shortly after Gerald Kitchen entered the Costco on 32nd Street N.E.

The store's assistant manager asked him to adjust his face mask because it was not covering his nose. Kitchen complied briefly before again pulling the mask below his nose.

When the employee again asked him to wear the mask properly, Kitchen removed his mask, got up close to her and shouted, "For this fake f--ing virus?" and then shoved the woman, the judge's decision says.

Kitchen later also assaulted the store manager, who had tracked him down in the dairy section at the back of the store, as well as a third employee.

A short time later, a police officer arrived and as she was trying to put Kitchen under arrest outside in a parking lot, he punched the female constable in the face, court documents say.

The store manager then intervened and helped the police officer subdue and handcuff the man.

'Conspiracy theories' dismissed by judge

Kitchen represented himself at trial.

The judge noted in her decision that Kitchen's defence revolved around a number of conspiracy theories, including that audio and video had been somehow manipulated or photoshopped for the trial, that the witnesses were fake and that he was being targeted for having sent an email to a federal politician.

"His conspiracy theories continued unabated as he mounted his defence," the judge wrote in her decision.

The judge rejected Kitchen's testimony that he had been an innocent victim, wrongly accused and then framed in a conspiracy.

She found him guilty of four counts of assault and one count of resisting arrest.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting