Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison Over Face Mask Fight

by Julie Scagell
Polk County Sheriff's Office

Shane Wayne Michael spat on a man after physically assaulting him

An Iowa man was just sentenced to ten years in prison after he attacked a man who asked him to pull his mask up over his nose while inside a store.

The fight happened at an eyewear store called Vision 4 Less in Des Moines on Nov. 11. Mark Dinning approached 42-year-old Shane Michael and asked him to fix his mask because it was hanging below his nose, the Washington Post reported. Multiple witnesses said Michael followed him out of the store where the physical altercation happened.

Michael hit the other man in the genitals with his knee several times and poked him in his left eye, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported. Dinning then bit Michael on the arm before Michael took off his mask, spitting on him. “If I have it, you have it!” Michael reportedly said while the two wrestled on the ground.

At the time, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) had signed an order extending the state’s public health emergency. This meant customers and employees were required to wear masks at “establishments providing personal services.”

Multiple witnesses told police Michael was the aggressor during the violent confrontation and was seen following Dinning out of the store to confront him. One employee described him to police as a “problem.”

Michael’s sentencing comes amid continuing incidents and arrests throughout the US as people are still required to wear masks in some public places and in certain states. There’s been a massive rise in unruly passenger behavior on planes. The Federal Aviation Administration stated that a large majority of these incident reports were because passengers refused to wear masks.

A Florida woman was recently sentenced to 30 days in jail for coughing on a customer at a Pier 1 store last year. A Family Dollar security guard in Michigan was fatally shot last year, authorities said, when a woman shot him after being told her child had to wear a mask to enter the store. A Galveston, Texas woman has been arrested multiple times for refusing to wear a mask in various local businesses.

In February, Polk County prosecutors offered Michael a plea deal if he agreed to pleading guilty to willful injury causing bodily injury, a Class D felony, that would have resulted in two years of probation. He rejected the plea, instead taking his case to a jury.

Michael was convicted on April 1 of a felony count of willful injury causing serious injury, according to court records. He was sentenced Wednesday to ten years in prison for the attack on Dinning. Michael’s father told the Dispatch his son has asthma and that is why his mask was pulled below his nose and that he was acting in self-defense.

According to The Dispatch, Michael’s attorney has filed a motion for a new trial.