Mayoral Candidate Arrested After Live-Streaming Confrontation With Workers Over Mask Refusal

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    Mayoral Candidate Arrested After Live-Streaming Confrontation With Workers Over Mask Refusal

    A mayoral candidate in Calgary, Alberta, was arrested on Wednesday after refusing to wear a face mask and live-streaming several aggressive confrontations with store employees at a local shopping center.

    Kevin J. Johnston was arrested for causing a disturbance and taking part in an illegal public gathering, according to a report from Calgary Police. The charges were related to an incident that occurred on May 22, when several store employees at the CORE Shopping Centre reported feeling threatened by Johnston as he attempted to skirt COVID-19 protocols.

    “Several store employees reported significant concerns for their safety after multiple altercations with Johnston. It is alleged that in several occurrences, Johnson entered stores within the mall without wearing a face mask and once approached by store employees who asked him to put on a mask, he allegedly verbally abused the employees,” the police report states.

    Police added that Johnston then left the stores and returned with a larger group of people who each refused to wear masks and continued to berate store employees. Police said Johnson live-streamed the confrontations.

    “Many of the employees were young people who were either working alone or with one other person and feared for their safety as a result of the confrontation by the group. This kind of targeted harassment will not be tolerated,” the police report stated.

    Calgary Center City
    Kevin J. Johnston, a mayoral candidate in Calgary, Alberta, was arrested Wednesday after refusing to wear a face mask and aggressively confronting store employees at a downtown shopping mall. Here, a sign for Calgary is seen in 2010. George Rose/Getty Images

    Johnston was arrested without incident Wednesday by the Edmonton Police Service, according to the report. Police said an investigation continues into the actions of the other individuals who were with him during the confrontations.

    Johnston, a controversial mayoral candidate, has previously been arrested for violating COVID-19 safety protocols. Earlier this month, Johnston was arrested by Calgary police after he promoted and attended three large gatherings in violation of pandemic-related health restrictions, CBC News reported.

    The 49-year-old has also faced several allegations for racist and violent behavior.

    According to CBC news, Johnston is currently under a restraining order by Alberta Health Services after he threatened to arm himself and go to the homes of top health officials.

    Furthermore, in May 2019, Johnston was ordered to pay $2.5 million in defamation damages to the owner of a chain of Middle Eastern restaurants after he posted a string of racially motivated attacks on his website, CTV News reported.

    The hearing for Johnston’s most recent arrest is set to take place on June 16, CBC news reported.

    Newsweek contacted Calgary police for additional comment, but they did not provide a statement beyond the press release.

    Published at Thu, 27 May 2021 17:01:05 +0000

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