A man charged with trespassing for refusing to leave Whole Foods in Mountain Brook for not wearing a mask during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic plans to appeal his case to the Supreme Court of Alabama.

Christopher Paul Key, otherwise known as "Vaccine Police," was arrested for declining to wear a mask or leave the Whole Foods premises, court documents show. He later refused to wear a mask in court. This week, Key's attorney, William McGowen, filed a motion to dismiss in Jefferson County.

The defense claimed in a 41-point motion that the matter should have been handled in civil court and not in a criminal manner. McGowen denied his client broke the law but accused the store manager and a police officer of assault. He also accused a former judge in the case of an ethics violation.

The new judge in the case, the Honorable Kandice Pickett, denied the motion to dismiss.

"Defendant's counsel offered no argument or case law and chose to stand on their filing," the judge stated.

After the hearing earlier this week, McGowen explained why he believes it was handled criminally.

"They had every right to go down to the courthouse and file for a preliminary injunction, a temporary restraining order to stop you from doing that," McGowen explained. "But the first thing they would have to do is to prove an irreparable harm by you going in there, which means they couldn't get it."

McGowen and Key said the state used a similar case where a woman got kicked out of a business because she had a service dog with her. The judge accepted that case law.

"I'm a dog now," said Key, laughing. "I'm a service dog.

"… We're standing up for God's law. And what they did to me, I believe, is completely, totally unconstitutional, illegal and unlawful."

McGowen said the ruling is favorable for the defense and others who want to go into a store to shop without being controlled.

"I think it's good because we can't have anyone articulate or make any law that might be brought up in the future unless the Supreme Court writes it or says it," McGowen added. "So, this is really the only avenue to make any kind of law that will be nothing more than a confirmation of the rights of guys like Christopher to walk in a grocery store and shop uninhibited."

Key said Whole Foods initially answered his concerns by telling him he did not have to wear a mask. However, a new company policy would require temperature checking and a questionnaire before entering the store.

Key has made controversial internet videos talking about the alleged dangers he sees regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. In one video, he suggested Walmart pharmacy employees could be executed for administering the vaccine.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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