Man dies after being shoved to the ground in New York mask altercation

Staff and agencies in WestSeneca
Wed 7 Oct 2020 

The 80-year-old man was knocked unconscious after confronting a patron in a West Seneca bar over not wearing a face covering 

A mask lies discarded on the ground. A mask lies discarded on the ground. Photograph: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Image
An 80-year old man has died after being shoved to the ground during a confrontation at a bar with another patron who was not wearing a mask.

Rocco E Sapienza confronted another patron at a bar in West Seneca, New York, on 26 September because he was not wearing a mask, Erie county prosecutors said on Monday. Donald M Lewinski, 65, then shoved Sapienza, who fell and struck his head on the floor, said district attorney John Flynn.

Sapienza was knocked unconscious and eventually died on 1 October. The cause of death was blunt force trauma, the district attorney said.

Lewinski is scheduled to be charged with criminally negligent homicide, a felony, on Tuesday, the station reported.

An attorney for Lewinski, Barry Covert, said he would plead not guilty and called Sapienza’s death a tragedy in an email to the Associated Press.

“I have watched the bar videotape, and it does appear that Mr Sapienza does come from a different part of the bar to initiate the confrontation with my client, who was at a different section of the bar,” Covert added.

In May, a security guard at a Family Dollar store in Flint was fatally shot after denying entry to a customer without a mask.

In July, a French bus driver was left brain dead and later died after he was attacked for refusing to let a group of people who were not wearing face masks board the bus.


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