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Man jailed for 10 years after getting into fight over face mask

<p>Shane Michael (left) was convicted of the willful injury of Mark Dinning (right)</p>

Shane Michael (left) was convicted of the willful injury of Mark Dinning (right)

Polk County Sheriff’s Office/Polk County District Court

A US man is facing a decade behind bars after he punched and spat on a man in a fight about face masks.

Shane Michael, 42, from Iowa, was in an eyewear shop on November 11 when another customer instructed him to put his mask on properly, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports.

Michael was allegedly wearing his covering pulled down slightly so that his nose was exposed, and the other man, Mark Dinning, wasn’t impressed.

A row ensued but Dinning eventually gave up and walked out into the store’s parking lot.

However, Michael followed him outside and soon began assaulting him, Dinning said.

The pair fell to the ground and Michael jabbed him in the eye, so Dinning responded by biting his aggressor’s arm.

Michael then kneed him in the groin several times before lowering his mask, coughing and spitting on him.

In an apparent reference to coronavirus, the 42-year-old allegedly then yelled: “If I have it, you have it!”

Following the confrontation, Michael argued that Dinning initiated the fight by bashing into him and poking him in the stomach after the two left the shop.

His father told the Iowa Capital Dispatch that his son had refused to cover his nose with his mask because he suffers from asthma.

He also defended his son’s actions, insisting he acted in self-defence.

However, witnesses were clear that Micheal was the instigator of the attack, with an employee at the Vision 4 Less store branding him “the problem.”

The 42-year old was arrested and convicted in April of willful injury causing serious injury – a Class C felony.

On Wednesday he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, court records indicate.

Michael’s father, Dennis Michael, told the Dispatch that the sentence was not fair given the nature of the offence.

“It’s like (Dinning) got a black eye in a bar fight, and now my son is getting 10 years in prison,” he told the news site.

The 42-year-old’s lawyers have filed a motion for a new trial.

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