Target Shoppers Attack Security Guards Over Face Mask Dispute

Video showing two men who got into a fight with security guards at a Target in Van Nuys, California after refusing to wear face masks surfaced Monday. The footage was filmed on May 1, but only surfaced after the suspects were arrested this week. Los Angeles Police said this was the fourth such incident in Van Nuys, a neighborhood of Los Angeles, just this week and came amid a growing number of similar incidents nationwide.

The incident happened at the Target store on Sepulveda Boulevard and shows three security guards escorting two men out of the store for not wearing a face covering, reports Fox 11. As the two were being taken through the store, one suspect turned around, shoved a security guard and hit him in the face. Another security guard tried to intervene, but both guards were knocked to the ground. Another shopper tried to stop the fight, but the men escaped the store.

One victim suffered a broken arm and is remains hospitalized, police said. The suspects, Philip Hamilton, 31, and Paul Hamilton, 29, were arrested later that day on felony battery.

"This is the fourth incident in Van Nuys where we have people confront people not wearing a mask," LAPD Lt. Jim Galvin told Fox 11. The incident also prompted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office to ask residents not to take their frustrations out on employees. "Please don’t take it out on businesses and their employees when it comes to wearing face coverings," officials tweeted. They are trying to uphold the regulations governing their business being allowed to be open. They are having a rough time too."

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Early last month, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive order requiring all employees and customers to wear face masks while inside an essential business. Employers were also required to provide their employees masks or reimburse those who already bought their own. "If you're not covering your face by Friday morning, an essential business can refuse you service," Garcetti said on April 8, reports KABC.

There have been several examples of violence breaking out across the country over disputes about face masks. In one case in Flint, Michigan, Family Dollar security guard Calvin Munerlyn was shot and killed after he asked a woman to wear a face mask. Her mother called her husband, Larry Edward Teague, and son, Ramonyea Bishop, who returned to the store and shot the guard during another dispute, prosecutors said. The two men escaped Michigan and were later arrested in Texas. On Saturday, Bishop was denied bond when he faced a judge and was charged with first-degree murder and felony firearm charges, reports WJRT.