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Man cited after clash over wearing mask at Costco
Marsh: ‘We certainly don’t arrest people for not wearing masks’
Costco began requiring all members, guests and employees to wear a face mask or face shield at Costco locations on Nov. 16. The policy that went into effect May 4 said those with medical conditions were exempt. The company changed the policy effective Nov. 16 that face shields would be required for those unable to wear a mask. - photo by Ben Hendren

A video of a local man being placed in handcuffs outside the Costco on Bald Ridge Marina Road on Saturday, Nov. 21 has been making the rounds on social media, but both the local police and the man who was cited are saying there is more to the incident than the video shows.

On Saturday, local resident Cory Wayland was detained, placed into the back of a Cumming Police Department cruiser and cited with disorderly conduct after he and his son were asked to leave the store for his son reportedly not wearing a face mask, which is required by store policy.

While some of the online discourse has claimed the arrest was due to not wearing a mask, Cumming Police Chief David Marsh said Wayland “was cited based on his conduct on the scene and for refusing to leave the store when he was asked to.”

“It didn’t have anything to do with the mask other than that’s what prompted the store to call us,” Marsh told Forsyth County News on Monday. “We certainly don’t arrest people for not wearing masks. That’s not something that we enforce. It didn’t have anything to do with that and it had everything to do with his behavior throughout that investigation and at the Costco.”

According to the police report, Cumming police were called “in reference to a dispute that was going on inside the store” that the caller said was “verbal only, but escalating.”

“The original call for service was in reference to a customer that had not been wearing a face covering, and when confronted became upset and started to argue with the store management,” the report said. “Management then advised dispatch that they wanted the individuals escorted off the property.”

Wayland, who also spoke to Forsyth County News on Monday, said he was approached by management and given a mask, which he put on, but his son deals with allergies and asthma and has “to take it off every once in a while to breathe” and was told by management repeatedly that he needed to put on a mask and was asked to leave when he did not. 

Costco changed its policy on Nov. 16 that everyone was required to wear a face mask or face shield. 

The company did not respond to comment as of press time. 

Wayland said he and his son heard a store manager tell the police dispatcher his son had handed him a knife, which Wayland said was actually a credit card, but felt that made the situation more tense and began heading out the front door, where he met police.

In the report, the responding officer said “that I was not aware of that information,” but the manager did tell him “he saw the two of them exchange something and that he did think it was a knife but was not sure.”

The responding officer told Wayland they understood the frustration about wearing masks but it was the store’s policy, but was told by Wayland “it did not matter about the wearing of a mask because he pays a membership to the store” and that he had been wearing a mask but his son had not.

“Then everything started revolving around they need to see my ID,” Wayland said, “and I very respectfully answered, ‘No you don’t, have I been accused of a crime or are you arresting me for a crime or do you have reasonable suspicion that I have or will commit a crime,’ and to all three things, he said no.”

According to the report, after being asked several times to show identification, Wayland would only give his first name and “placed his wrists together and put them in front of me as if I was going to arrest him. He then placed his hands behind his back as if I was handcuffing him,” before the officer asked for identification again.

“At this point, I advised Cory that he was under arrest and went to place him in handcuffs. Cory then pulled away from me and jerked his wrist from my hand,” the officer wrote. “I advised Cory to stop resisting and he advised that he was not. While placing Cory in handcuffs, he was tensing his arms in an attempt to prevent me from placing both hands behind his back.”

Per the report, Wayland was searched, placed in the back of the cruiser and told he was being cited with disorderly conduct. 

“Cory stated that he did not understand why he had to provide identification for this event, and I advised that I was on the scene conducting an investigation and that, by law, when asked to provide identification or name and date of birth, he has to do so,” the report said. 

When Wayland’s son told officers he did not understand why Wayland was being arrested over a mask, he was told, “[Wayland] was not under arrest for not wearing a mask but rather disorderly conduct.”

After speaking with supervisors, the officer said he was given permission to cite Wayland for disorderly conduct and release him on his own recognizance. 

Wayland and his adult son were both issued criminal trespass warnings and have been barred from the store. 

Wayland said he felt the allegations were bogus and “that they could trump up and put the cuffs on me and obtain my ID contrary to Fourth Amendment protections that we all have.”

He said he has since been asked why he didn’t just give his ID and said he saw it as a breach of his Constitutional rights.

“The first time I was asked that, I was shocked by that and I thought about it,” Wayland. “I said, ‘You know what, if I voluntarily give up my Fourth Amendment rights, aren’t I hypocritical if I stand firm on First or Second Amendment rights or my Fourteenth Amendment rights? Where do we draw the line, and at what point do I become a hypocrite if I give up on some but not others.” 

Wayland said he has always been a supporter of law enforcement but the interaction had warped his belief and felt “Costco is using the city of Cumming as their personal police force over this mask issue.” 

Marsh said the department does not enforce the rules of businesses but does respond when customers are asked to leave and do not.  

“The reality is [businesses] are able to conduct business in the manner that they choose,” Marsh said, “and we don’t enforce their rules, but we do enforce their rights to have their own rules, so if a store has a mask mandate or a no shirt, no shoes, no service mandate, and they ask somebody to leave, then if they refuse, they are violating the law, so that’s when we get called.

“So, oftentimes it looks like we are helping enforce the store rules,” Marsh said, “but that’s not what’s going on. People always have the option of voluntarily complying, and if they choose not to, then that’s when our guys get involved.”