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Vernon man assaulted while counter-protesting anti-COVID rally

RCMP looking for witnesses to incident that sent pandemic believer to hospital

A man who has been attending anti-vax and anti-COVID mandate rallies at a Vernon park for weeks as a counter-protester is alleging that a member of the group assaulted him.

Every weekend for the last 14 weeks, Korry Zepik has stood alongside those who have commandeered the Polson Park fountain at the corner of Highway 97 and 25th Avenue.

Unlike those carrying signs claiming the pandemic is a hoax or that vaccinations kill, Zepik’s sign reads: “COVID is not a plot.”

The group of approximately 25 who gather at the corner have told Zepik to leave many times, in many different ways, he said.

But those upset with him being there went too far last weekend, said Zepik, who claims he was assaulted and ended up in the hospital.

“Last week everything went without a hitch and this week they started giving me a hard time about my air horn.”

Zepik said he was pushed into traffic multiple times and someone vandalized his signs before an altercation ensued.

Someone was about to spray paint the sign he was holding when Zepik said he grabbed the man’s hand to stop him and the two ended up falling into a lane of traffic.

“He took his hand on the left side of my head and smashed my right side of my head onto the pavement,” said Zepik, who was dazed but not unconscious.

“Then he started hitting me.”

A woman, according to Zepik, was able to yell at the man to get him to stop before he took off.

A witness helped Zepik to a safe spot while they awaited paramedics, who he said advised him to get a CT scan for his head.

Police also attended the incident and took statements from those who would give them, and also made an arrest.

“A 52-year old Vernon man was arrested for assault by the responding officers,” Vernon North Okanagan RCMP media relations officer Const. Chris Terleski said. “After a brief period in custody, the man was released at the scene and is expected to appear in court at a later date.”

Anyone who witnessed the incident and has not yet spoken to police is asked to call 250-545-7171 and quote file number 2022-17653.

Zepik believes police have identified the alleged assault suspect and Zepik would like to press charges.

“Not only was I assaulted, but my signs were vandalized. It shouldn’t come to that.”

Despite the incident, Zepik is not ready to relinquish his spot on the corner in a counter protest.

“I will be back Saturday.”

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

20-year-Morning Star veteran
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