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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Angry Customer at Store 'Smacks' County Judge Nelson Wolff's Hand Over Mask Ordinance

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 4:45 PM

County Judge speaks during a recent press briefing with a bandana around his neck. - SCREEN CAPTURE / KSAT
  • Screen Capture / KSAT
  • County Judge speaks during a recent press briefing with a bandana around his neck.
Apparently, some of us are taking this whole mask-in-public thing harder than others.

A man pissed off about the newly enacted ordinance "smacked" Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff in the hand Wednesday during a confrontation about the policy at a local home improvement store, county spokeswoman Monica Ramos said.

Wolff, who created the ordinance a week ago by executive order, was in a checkout line at the Lowe’s at Interstate 10 and Callaghan Road. when he overheard a customer berating a worker for telling him he needed to wear a mask inside the building.

"The man became belligerent and eventually abusive to this poor lady, and the judge tried to intervene and defuse the situation," Ramos said.

According to Ramos, Wolff tried to hand the angry customer his business card in a bid to let him vent over the phone. In surveillance video supplied to the Current, the man can be seen slapping the card from Wolff's hand. In the clip, Wolff is wearing a face covering and a straw hat.

The judge responded by dialing Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar and putting the lawman on the speaker of his mobile phone, Ramos said. At that point, the suspect left the store and Wolff followed, recording the license plate number of his vehicle.

Deputies are now trying to find the man to get his side of the confrontation, Ramos said.

The incident follows several days of county officials visiting local businesses to make they are following the ordinance, which went into effect Monday. Wolff issued the order in response to a spike in local COVID-19 cases.

So far, deputies have issued warnings to some businesses but no fines.

Despite medical research showing that masks are effective at diminishing the spread of COVID-19, they have emerged as one other thing to quarrel over in the nation's culture war.

Even so, Ramos said she's not aware of any other county officials being struck over the ordinance.

"We've never encountered this," Ramos said. "This is a first."

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