Moorhead man says he was assaulted after asking someone to wear a mask

Medical records show Kenneth Ortner suffered a concussion as a result of the incident
Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 6:20 PM CDT
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MOORHEAD, Minn. (Valley News Live) - Kenneth Ortner says he thought by asking someone to wear a mask, he was protecting not only himself but his community.

Instead, it landed him in the hospital after reportedly being assaulted Friday afternoon inside the elevator of his Moorhead apartment building.

“He had to have hit me at least five, six times,” Ortner, 58, said.

Ortner has been living at Riverview Heights since 2009. Before the alleged assault, Ortner said he is immunocompromised and had several surgeries, including a partial amputation of his foot, which forced him to use a walker.

“The anxiety was beyond belief, and the shaking, visibly shaking as I passed the fifth floor. Afraid it was going to stop,” Ortner said.

A doctor’s note from his visit to the hospital on Friday showed he suffered a concussion and lacerations to his face.

“‘You can’t tell me what to do.’ And I said, ‘you’re not getting on the elevator with me without a mask. I’m high risk.’ And, he pushed me in the elevator and proceeded to beat me up,” Ortner said.

Ortner reported the incident immediately to the Moorhead Police Department at around noon on Friday.

According to police, no one was arrested because this was a situation of “he says versus he says.”

The person accused of assaulting Ortner told police he was prevented from leaving the elevator.

Moorhead police said Ortner should’ve left the elevator, however, Ortner said he couldn’t and the man should at least be cited for not wearing a mask.

“I had my mask on and there was zero consideration for my situation,” Ortner said.

In the meantime, Ortner said a judge granted him a temporary restraining on Monday against his assailant.

Moorhead police have previously said officers don’t enforce the Minnesota governor’s mask mandate due to a lack of resources, but they can cite people. No one was cited in this incident.

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