A 64-year-old woman from Arkansas was allegedly attacked on Friday by two men for wearing a mask and supporting Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden. The alleged incident came at a time when Americans have been polarized over wearing of mask in public amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The woman, who was not identified, told Little Rock police that the men harassed her when she was at a Kroger store. She said the men were white and "Trumpers" – supporters of President Donald Trump.
The men, who were in a vehicle, reportedly told the woman to take off her mask.
"Maybe you would not be so ugly if you take that mask off," a police report stated, quoting the woman. To this, the woman replied: "Maybe you should put one on."
Following this, the woman proceeded to tell the men she was a supporter of Biden. Upon hearing this, the men called Democrats "baby rapists" – a claim that may have stemmed from a conspiracy theory that alleged Biden and other Democrats are part of a child sex trafficking ring.
"Democrats are baby rapists! Joe Biden is a baby rapist, too!" one of the men allegedly said. Then the man got out of his vehicle and hurled a punch at the woman's face, making her fall. The men fled the scene after the alleged assault. According to the police, the woman sustained visible injuries on the face and she did not take medical assistance. A bystander helped her get up and dropped her home.
The woman was reportedly unable to provide a detailed description of the men or the vehicle since the alleged assault happened quickly.
It is mandatory for people in Arkansas to wear mask in public when social distancing was not possible.
The issue of wearing a mask or not has divided Americans since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization earlier this year. Healthcare experts across the world urged people to wear a mask in public to avoid getting infected with the coronavirus.
However, Trump refused to wear a mask in public and repeatedly said he did not agree that wearing a face-covering would ward off Covid-19. This led his supporters to take a stand against wearing of the mask. In July, the president shifted his stance on the mask saying that wearing a mask was "patriotic."