‘Karen’ calls 911 after being barred from pet store for not wearing a mask
A woman called 911 for being denied entry into a California pet store because she wasn’t wearing a mask — claiming she has a “religious exemption right and God-given right” that are protected under the Civil Rights Act.
Aidan Bearpaw, who works at Bones-N-Scones in Palm Springs, recorded the tense encounter on Sunday and posted it to Facebook writing, “I’ve never had to deal with a karen calling 911 on me before all because I asked her to please wear a mask in the store.”
The six-minute video shows Bearpaw telling the woman she needs to wear a mask inside the store, which is nearing closing time, or else he’ll provide a “reasonable accommodation.”
The woman threatens to call 911, saying he’s “technically discriminating” against her and that she can’t wear a face-covering because of health issues.
“I’ll have a panic attack, I will freak out, I will have an anxiety attack,” she says.
The woman then asks Bearpaw to “accommodate me by giving me an hour at the end of every day, an hour at the beginning of the day.”
“There is no one in the store,” she adds.
Bearpaw shoots back, “There’s me in the store,” to which she responds, “So you stand seven thousand feet away from me.”
“Ma’am, I’m just trying to do my job,” he answers.
“And I’m trying to make sure that I have rights,” she says. “You’ll make sure to hear that in the end you’re the one who will be cited, not me.”
Then, she dials 911 on speaker, telling the dispatcher, “As per the 1964 Civil Rights Act, I cannot be discriminated against. I do have a right to be able to breath O2 not CO2 and I’m being discriminated against right now at a store.”
She adds, “I’m being told I need to wear a mask even though I have a religious exemption right and a God-given right to be able to breathe O2 and not CO … medical exemption too.”
The dispatcher can be heard telling the woman that there is a city ordinance mandating face coverings inside stores. She says the store has a “right to refuse service” and then tells her she’s sending out an officer.
The woman tells the dispatcher she’s leaving, while insisting that she’s in the “right” before heading back to her car.
Bearpaw told Storyful that the woman called 911 on him the next day, sending police to the store.
“She was feeling the public backlash and dispatched police on me again,” he said. “My bosses were initially furious. It was very possible I was going to be fired. My coworkers were all very supportive and made it clear there would be consequences if I was terminated.”
Bones-N-Scones’ consulting general manager backed up Bearpaw in an interview with local network KESQ.
“I’m biased, but it’s a shining example of how just doing what’s right,” Smith said. “Standing your ground overcomes all of those things. Aidan one for us that day, he didn’t just want it for Bone-N-Scones. He won for the city of Palm Springs, but United States and for humanity in general.”
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