AUSTIN, Texas - A woman is facing assault charges after not complying with a store's mask policies.
Kara Bell was shopping at Nordstrom Rack in Sunset Valley on April 7th when she went into the fitting room area and was confronted by employees to put on her mask.
She allegedly told the store that she had a health exemption and she did not need to wear her mask, but employees told her she was not allowed in the store without a mask. This is when things began to escalate.
A police report obtained by FOX 7 Austin states that one of the employees attempted to block Bell from entering the fitting room by putting their arm up as a barrier. It goes on to state that Bell kept pushing and pushing until she shoved one of the employees.
Police were then called at this time. As police were responding, Bell went into one of the fitting rooms and began to try on clothes. When police went into the store, they made contact with Bell and asked her to come out of the fitting room. When she did, she was in the store's clothes.
Nearly 15 minutes after police arrived, Bell left the store, upset with officers. "I'm a Christian woman of God," she said. "YOU’RE NOT GOING TO PUT YOUR DISGUSTING RULES ON ME THAT ARE FALSE AND NOT TRUE."
In body camera footage obtained by FOX 7 Austin, Bell is heard telling officers that they are infringing upon her rights. Bell is also heard in the video not complying with officers by not telling them her name, despite being asked multiple times. At this point, she is legally detained, as police are trying to investigate what occurred in the store.
Bell is running for position 2 on the Lake Travis ISD school board.
Lake Travis ISD sent this statement: "We have been made aware of the video, Due to election laws, we are not able to provide further comment."
Sunset Valley says they are following the county judge's mask order and in a statement said:
"Order 2021-02 requires face coverings for individuals inside a commercial entity or other building open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space whenever not feasible to maintain six (6) feet of social distance from persons outside one’s household, unless they fall under one of the excluded categories or conditions, such as any person younger than 10 years of age, any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering, etc., the full list of which is in the order."
FOX 7 Austin reached out to Bell multiple times for comment. During one attempt, Bell ended the call after FOX 7's Kacey Bowen identified herself as a reporter.
Bell has also called in to the city of Austin and Travis County Commissioner's Court joint session to voice her displeasure with Dr. Mark Escott and Judge Andy Brown by stating that there is no scientific proof that masks can slow the spread of COVID-19. The CDC contends that this is wrong.
According to the police report, Bell is not allowed back at that store for at least a year.