35-year-old Enrico Toro of Orlando has been charged with misdemeanor battery over allegations that he hit a security guard at Epcot over Disney World’s face mask requirements.
According to the report filed by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Toro, along with his wife and three children, arrived at the Epcot entrance at 4:40 p.m. on Aug. 14. A security guard informed them they had “improper masks” and the family went back to their car. When they returned five to ten minutes later, the report said Toro was told that one of the children was still wearing an improper mask, to which Toro responded by swearing at the guard and saying, “Call the police. They will have to shoot me to leave.”
When the guard reached for his phone to notify a supervisor, the report said Toro struck the guard in the head “with an open hand.” While Toro’s wife pushed him away, Toro allegedly continued to cuss at the guard and “began threatening that he knew where he lived and was going to kill him,” according to the report, which stated that the guard was not injured.
Toro’s own statement denied those allegations, claiming he had an argument with a guard over face masks but no battery had occurred. Three witnesses, however, told police that they had seen Toro strike the guard.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, which first reported on the arrest, Orange County is not aware of any other violent incidents related to its requirement to wear face masks in public spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Major theme parks like Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando had announced they would require guests and employees to wear face masks before the county mandate was introduced in June.
In other parts of the country, however, theme park mask rules have led to violence. Earlier this month, a 17-year-old employee at Pennsylvania’s Sesame Place, owned by SeaWorld Entertainment, was punched in the face by a guest after the worker reminded him to wear a face mask.
The victim was hospitalized for seven days, requiring surgery for a broken jaw. The suspect, 39-year-old Troy McCoy, managed to escape the park but was arrested at his home in New York 10 days later and charged with aggravated assault.