CALGARY — A 65-year-old man faces assault charges after allegedly punching a man in a wheelchair and striking a woman with a flagpole after attending an anti-COVID-19-related restrictions event in Calgary.
According to police, Milan Matusik was carrying a flag after leaving a rally at Prince’s Island Park on the afternoon of March 20 when he was confronted by the man in a wheelchair who called him an offensive name.
Matusik allegedly responded by repeatedly punching the seated man and ripping a crucifix necklace from his neck.
When friends of the man in the wheelchair gathered around, Matusik allegedly struck a woman in the chest with the butt end of the flagpole.
A struggle between the two men followed and the man in the wheelchair was toppled out of the chair to the ground.
Police say Matusik attempted to throw a punch at another member of the group, but lost his footing and fell.
Calgary Police Service officials say officers intervened but everyone involved refused to provide statements.
The investigation resulted in charges against 65-year-old Milan Matusik — the man who attended the rally — despite the fact police believe the man in the wheelchair verbally instigated the encounter and initiated the physical contact. Police, in a statement released Tuesday, said Matusik’s response was “beyond reasonable to stop any perceived threat or assault.”
Matusik is scheduled to appear in court on May 5 to face charges of assault and assault with a weapon.
According to police, the investigation into the incident determined “the assault did not meet the threshold for hate crimes, or hate-motivated criminal allegations.”