Canada

Disagreement over masks on bus leads to violent fight in Surrey, B.C.

VANCOUVER —
Transit police responded to a fight on a Surrey, B.C., bus Saturday that broke out over a disagreement about a face mask.

The incident happened on a bus around 9:30 a.m. near 96 Avenue and 120th Street in Surrey, said the Metro Vancouver Transit Police in a press release.

A bus passenger noticed that a man who had boarded the bus wasn’t wearing a mask, police said.

“The man removed a mask from his bag and offered it to the other man, to which he declined,” the press release states.

The man offering the mask then asked the other if he was “medically exempt from wearing a mask,” at which point the man without the mask “became belligerent.”

Police said the man offering the mask then “stood up to confront” the man not wearing a mask. The man without a mask “allegedly punched the (man offering a mask) in the head, which led to a fight on the bus.”

“When the fight was over, the suspect left the area,” police said.

According to police the victim was transported to the hospital for a cut above his eye.

TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews said violence like this is not acceptable and asks transit riders to not try and enforce the mask policy themselves.

“(We) ask customers not to attempt to enforce TransLink’s mandatory mask policy,” she said in a statement to CTV News Vancouver.

“Spot checks show about 95% of customers are complying with the policy and are wearing masks on board transit vehicles. There are several exemptions to this policy and not all medical conditions are visible,” Drews said.

Police are also urging passengers not to approach unmasked riders.

“We strongly urge members of the public that if they come across an individual who is not wearing a mask, to distance themselves rather than question or confront the individual,” police said in their statement.

Police said they are investigating the incident, and ask anyone who may have witnessed the fight to call transit police at 604-515-8300 or text at 87-77-77 and refer to file 20-17732.

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