(FOX 2) - A man who's been charged with assaulting a Dollar Tree employee in Holly, Mich is facing jail time after allegedly wiping his nose on her clothes in retaliation for being asked to wear a face covering.
"He actually placed bodily fluids on her clothing. That is never acceptable," said Holly police chief Jerry Narsh - and even more appalling during a pandemic.
Now the man seen on the surveillance video, 68-year-old Rex Gomoll of Linden, Mich. is facing up to 93 days in jail for the assault. He's been charged with assault and battery.
"When she had mentioned that the store policy is that you must have a mask on to be in the store, he made a statement, 'Here I'll use this as a mask,'" Narsh said. Then he allegedly wiped his nose on her shirt.
Holly Police said the employee didn't react or confront Gomoll, who was apparently loud and disruptive before finally leaving the store.
"I'm very proud of her, she did everything right. She was alone in that store and she had no idea what the potential of this individual was if she confronted him in any other than a calm, professional manner," Narsh said.
Police were initially unable to identify Gomoll, but thanks to tips on social media he was arrested Monday night. Police say he admitted he was the man seen on surveillance video.
"Of course tensions are high, people are edgy but this is not something that - acting out in this manner is not acceptable," Narsh said.
Gomoll is a longtime Ford employee with no criminal record. He was released on a $2,500 personal bond Wednesday and was also ordered by the judge to stay home, with the exception of going to the grocery store and walking his dogs.
This is the second attack over face coverings in Michigan in the last several days. Over the weekend a security guard at a Family Dollar in Flint was shot and killed after ordering a woman to follow store policy and also put on a mask.
"Businesses have the right to post requirements to enter and shop within their stores. The statement, 'No shoes, no shirt no service' - now I think you can add mask to that," Narsh said.
And if customers don't comply? Narsh says to call the police. "If they don't leave they could be subject to trespassing."
Meanwhile, Gomoll is due back in court later this month.