A man in Iowa on Wednesday was sentenced to 10 years in prison for assaulting a man over a face mask dispute in November.
The fight between Michael and another man, identified as Mark Dinning, reportedly occurred after Dinning requested that Michael wear his mask properly, as his nose was exposed. The two got into an argument, which then escalated into a physical altercation.
According to Dinning's account, Michael cornered him and dropped him to the ground. Michael then allegedly attacked Dinning's eyes and genitals, and coughed and spat in his face.
"If I have it, you have it,'" Michael reportedly said, referring to COVID-19, according to the Register.
Dinning admitted to biting Michael out of self defense.
In Michael's version of the story, Dinning allegedly shoulder-checked Michael and jabbed into his stomach, at which point Michael tackled him to the ground. Michael claimed that Dinning then bit his arm, at which point Michael retaliated by jabbing his finger into Dinning's eye.
Three witnesses on the scene told police that Michael was the one who escalated the fight, the Register reports.
Michael's father, Dennis Michael, told the Iowa Capital Dispatch that the punishment did not match the crime.
"It’s like (Dinning) got a black eye in a bar fight, and now my son is getting 10 years in prison," he said.
Dinning reportedly posted on Facebook that the incident almost caused him to lose his eye, notes the Dispatch.