Eagle Point Walmart incident sparks online controversy

EAGLE POINT, Ore. — A chaotic scene inside the Eagle Point Walmart on Wednesday after Michelle Easley was arrested inside the store.

The video has been viewed by thousands across social media.

Her husband, Denny, declined to be interviewed on camera, but tells NBC5 News Michelle can’t wear a mask because of a health condition.

He declined to provide details.

Denny claims store associates approached them in a hostile manner telling Michelle she had to wear a mask.

When she told them about her disability, he says the store didn’t make any accommodation after they asked what store policy was.

That’s when Denny says store associates called police.

Eagle Point Police Chief Darin May tells us Walmart associates asked Michelle Easley to wear a face covering, but she refused.

The chief says associates and then police asked her leave multiple times and she also refused.

Denny says his wife never refused to leave.

“We’re not enforcing the governor’s mask mandate. That’s the businesses job. If they refuse to leave then it becomes a trespass issue,” said Chief Darin May, Eagle Point Police Dept.

Police say Michelle was arrested for criminal trespass and given a citation.

The Eagle Point family, however, says they were mistreated by Walmart associates.

They wonder why Easley was singled out when they say other people were in the store at the same time not wearing masks.

“I have no idea why Walmart called on this particular person,” said Chief May. “We don’t want to be arresting people for criminal trespass for something like this but, unfortunately, if they refuse to leave our hands are kind of tied.”

NBC5 News reached out to the Eagle Point Walmart for comment, it referred us to its corporate office.

A Walmart spokesperson said the incident will be investigated and sent NBC5 News a statement on Thursday afternoon:

“Recently, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration sent direction that beginning October 28th anyone over the age of 5 must wear face covering in all workplaces, indoor public spaces, public and private colleges and universities, and indoor and outdoor markets. Our stores have been given direction to follow these mandates.”

According to the state’s website, if someone with a disability is unable to wear a mask or alternate face covering like a face shield, they can “request a reasonable accommodation from the business.”

The family says they have retained an attorney and plan to file a lawsuit against Walmart.

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