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Michigan Woman Charged With Spitting on Cop After Refusing to Wear a Mask in a Grocery Store

The alleged incident occurred at Nino Salvaggio in St. Clair Shores

Various type of fruits at supermarket. Shutterstock/Ibenk_88
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

A woman in Macomb County was charged with a felony and two misdemeanors after allegedly assaulting a grocery store employee and subsequently spitting on police officers after being told to leave for not wearing a mask, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The suspect, Kristin Hoff, was a candidate for Roseville mayor in 2017. The alleged incident took place at Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace in St. Clair Shores on April 26, according the Detroit News. Per the report, Hoff was asked by an employee to leave the premises because she was not wearing a mask in accordance with a statewide executive order that requires all individuals in enclosed public spaces wear a face covering. Hoff refused, so police were called to intervene. She then allegedly resisted arrest and spat on officers.

The report follows a recent wave of incidents in Michigan where essential workers have experienced bodily harm when trying to refuse service to customers not complying with mask requirements. A security guard at a Family Dollar in Flint was killed on Friday after refusing to allow a woman without a face mask into the building. According to the report, the woman’s husband and son later returned and got into an altercation with the security guard, fatally shooting him. The suspects are still at large. In another incident in Genesee County, a 68-year-old man allegedly wiped his nose and face on the shirt of a Dollar Tree worker who told him to wear a face covering inside the store.

Essential workers — including employees at grocery stores and restaurants — are at greater risk for contracting COVID-19 due to their regular interactions with the public and other employees. At the same time, many of these workers are receiving little to no hazard pay and do not have health benefits if they become ill. When people do not take appropriate measures such as wearing a mask and social distancing, their bodies can essentially become a form of germ warfare — spreading illness to vulnerable people around them including essential workers.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has enacted multiple new executive orders including rules regarding face masks and limits to building capacity in an effort to contain the spread of the virus by asymptomatic carriers of the disease and protect employees. The governor has also proposed a free college program for essential workers in the pandemic. At the same time the governor has faced pushback from state lawmakers who have moved to sue the governor to end the state of emergency.

Whitmer appears to have the law on her side though. A Michigan judge recently upheld Whitmer’s order and Attorney General Dana Nessel issued an additional statement today supporting Whitmer’s stance that the state of emergency is legal even without an extension from the state legislature.

Roseville Woman Accused of Assaulting Employee, Spitting on Police in Grocery Store [Freep]
Prosecutor: Woman Spat on Cops After Refusing to Wear Mask at Grocery Store [Detroit News]
Face Masks Are Required in Grocery Stores Under Michigan’s Updated Stay-at-Home Order [ED]
All Coronavirus Coverage [E]