A Langley woman who wore a mask during a visit to a dog park said she was berated, then physically assaulted, by a man in a Trump-style “Keep America Great” hat who accused her of following “propaganda” about COVID-19.
The woman, a Willoughby resident who asked not to be named, told the Langley Advance Times the incident happened on Saturday, May 8, when she and her sister took the family dog to the Brydon off-leash dog park in Langley City at 198th Street and 53rd Avenue.
“I wore a mask because the area is usually pretty busy and I wanted to do my part in this pandemic,” she recounted.
After about an hour, the two were getting ready to leave when a man who wasn’t wearing a mask asked her why she was a “racist follower.”
“I wasn’t wearing my glasses so I couldn’t read his hat at that moment so I just raised my eyebrows and laughed while looking at my sister. Then he said, ‘you fascists are _____ ridiculous’ and my sister and I [were] looking at each other in shock and I just told her to ignore it.”
Then, she said the man told her she was “following covideous propaganda” and her sister said, “She’s just trying to keep everyone safe.”
He was wearing a red baseball hat with a “Keep America Great” logo, an apparent nod to the “Make America Great Again” or MAGA hats that former U.S. president Donald Trump and his supporters are known for.
As he continued to berate her, the woman produced her phone, took his picture and began to record him on video, which is when, she said, he tried to grab it away.
“He was squeezing my arm, pinching and scratching the hand my phone was in while my sister pushed him off of me,” the woman said.
Her video shows the man shouting that she wasn’t allowed to take his picture without permission because he isn’t a public figure, something that is not the case in a public place under Canadian law.
When another man intervened to defend the sisters, the man in the baseball cap became hostile toward him as well, at which point all three left the park, she said.
When the woman posted a warning about the incident to social media, she was surprised by some of the reaction.
“Initially, I wasn’t taken aback because I know people have opposing views in every area,” she said.
“However, I think what really took me back was seeing the support the negative comments got. What really surprised me was seeing the sensitivity behind Trump in Canada. “
One person complained that the woman “picked on him for having a MAGA hat on, then twisted the story.” The writer signed off with “Trump 2024.”
Another argued the man “is a hero, he is doing the right thing by giving the mask community a taste of what it’s like to be harassed for not wearing a mask.”
One person called it “Karma” for all the people “being assaulted on buses or Skytrain for not wearing a mask.”
Another described her as a “typical scummy racist liberal.”
On the other hand, one person wrote that someone should tell the man in the hat “that we are in Canada and devotion to the mango Mussolini is really irrelevant.”
Another said the man “pursued and intentionally made an effort to engage when ignored. That’s messed up.”
Another person reported they have had their own unsettling encounter with the MAGA hat man, who “went on a tirade about how ‘people who wear masks should all be shot!’ and a whole bunch of other rubbish I can’t remember now.”
Langley RCMP confirmed an investigation is underway into an alleged incident of assault in the park on that date.