The great mask debate rages on. The most recent ugly confrontation involving face coverings happened in Massachusetts where a man reportedly became so furious with hikers for not wearing face masks while hiking outdoors that he purposely spit at them.
Two young women were allegedly hiking in the Hudson Overlook on the Midstate Trail in Ashburnham on Nov. 15, according to the New York Post. A vexed man approached the hikers, who were not wearing face masks.
One of the women recorded the hostile encounter with the man, and video of the incident was posted on Twitter by WBZ-TV reporter Kristina Rex.
"'I have COVID,' this man in Ashburnham says as he spits in the direction of two women taking a hike Sunday afternoon," Rex wrote on Twitter. "Based on a verbal confrontation early in the video, he was upset the women were not wearing a mask while hiking. Now police are looking for him."
Footage shows the man walking toward the women and spitting at them, then he tells the women, "I have COVID, I've been tested positive." He starts to walk away, but then turns around and spits at the hikers a second time.
In the video, an older female is heard calling for the man, but he ignores her.
“I have COVID,” this man in Ashburnham says as he spits in the direction of two women taking a hike Sunday afternoo… https://t.co/4FsZNFxtY8— Kristina Rex (@Kristina Rex) 1605903287.0
Police say that the man was angry at the women for not wearing face masks, WBZ reported.
"He explained to them that it was the 'law' and that they were selfish," police said. "He aggressively turned towards them and stated, 'I have Covid' and began spitting at the young females."
"That's not the right approach to deal with anything," Ashburnham Police Lt. Chris Conrad said. "It was hostile, it was inappropriate, it was threatening and it could even be assaultive."
Police said the man could face charges up to assault. The Ashburnham Police Department asked the public for help identifying the suspect on its Facebook page.
"Again we don't have all the details on everything yet we need to speak with her again," Conrad said. "We're hoping the suspect comes forward so we can determine is there another side to this that we don't know about, that we didn't see on the video."