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Surveillance video shows Golden bartender shoved to ground after trying to enforce mask mandate, bar owner says

John Roche, 62, faces trespassing and harassment charges.

GOLDEN, Colorado — A bartender at the Golden Moon Speakeasy is seen on restaurant surveillance video being shoved to the ground by a customer after the owner of the bar said the bartender confronted the man for not wearing a mask.

John Roche, 62, now faces trespassing and harassment charges. The bar owner, Stephen Gould, said his employee has a bruised back and had to take a day off work and that Roche, “walked in clearly looking to start a fight.”

Gould said Roche arrived at the restaurant without a mask and asked for a table. When the employee told Roche he needed to have a mask when he’s not seated, he responded, “I'll wear a damn mask when I want to wear masks,” according to Gould. He said Gould began cursing at the employee who told Roche he was “being a dick” which led to the shove that knocked the bartender through the doorway and onto the ground.

"Even if you don't believe the data, it's the law," Gould said of mask effectiveness. "We could get shut down. What's unreasonable is somebody being so selfish and self-centered that they're going to walk into any business, not just mine, demand that they be above the law and then get violent when someone says, I'm sorry, it's the law.”

RELATED: House Minority Leader says he plans to file lawsuit against Gov. Polis over mask mandate

9NEWS attempted to contact Roche but has not been able to reach him.

Gould said he wants to see state and local governments create tougher penalties for individuals using violence in relation to temporary health orders.

Both the harassment and the trespassing charge carry maximum fines of $2,650 and 180 days in jail. Golden Police did not tack on a citation for violation of the mask order which would carry a $50 fine.

RELATED: Confrontation over mask at Denver-area liquor store goes viral

When asked by Golden Police why Roche isn’t being charged with assault, the department pointed to the Colorado state statute which says, “A person commits harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she: Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise touches a person or subjects him to physical contact.”

Golden Police say they hand out hundreds of masks every weekend to educate instead of taking a no-tolerance approach. The department said it's issued just one citation and that it’s currently being challenged in court.

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