MARSHALL, Minn. — A couple went shopping Saturday, July 25, at the Walmart here wearing masks emblazoned with Nazi swastikas.
As the couple was checking out, another shopper, Raphaela Mueller, filmed the couple as others confronted the swastika-wearing man and woman. Mueller, a vicar at a Lyon County church, is a native of Germany and came to the United States as a high school exchange student and completed college here.
"If you vote for Biden, you're going to be living in Nazi Germany, the swastika-masked woman said on the video as her companion bagged up their groceries. The couple allegedly were using the masks to protest Minnesota's mask mandate.
Walmart implemented a mask requirement for customers in all stores on July 20. Minnesota's mask mandate, requiring face coverings be worn in public places, started Friday.
Warning: Some comments on this video may be considered offensive:
Gov. Tim Walz responded Sunday in a tweet: "Disgraceful, plain and simple. Thank you to the bystanders who stood up to this unacceptable, hate-fueled behavior."
In a photo posted by Mueller, the swastika-masked woman appears to salute with her left hand as she is standing in the checkout line.
In her video post, Mueller said, "I was born and raised in Germany, and I grew up hearing about my great-grandmother who fought in the underground against the first wave of Nazis in the 1930s and '40s.
"Let me make this abundantly clear once and for all — THE SWASTIKA IS A HATE SYMBOL AND YOU DO NOT FLY THE FLAG, YOU DO NOT WEAR THE SYMBOL ANYWHERE ON YOUR BODY, YOU DO NOT USE OR DEFEND THIS SYMBOL, EVER. END OF STORY," Mueller concluded.
"You're sick. You have an illness," said one unidentified shopper on the video. "You can't be American and wear that mask. You cannot. We literally had a war about this."
Mueller posted the video on Facebook, where it went viral and received more than 1,500 comments and 1,600 shares on the social media network by mid-day Sunday.
Walmart issued this statement Saturday: "What happened today at our store in Marshall, MN, is unacceptable. We strive to provide a safe and comfortable shopping environment for all our customers and will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment in any aspect of our business. We are asking everyone to wear face coverings when they enter our stores for their safety and the safety of others and it’s unfortunate that some individuals have taken this pandemic as an opportunity to create a distressing situation for customers and associates in our store."
The Marshall police were called to the store Saturday and served trespass notices to the couple per the store's request, according to a Marshall police report.
The 64-year-old woman and 59-year-old man departed the store following the confrontation and no charges were pursued.
Tribune News Service contributed to this story.