health

Target Employee Is Punched And Beaten By 2 Customers For Asking Them To Wear Masks In Store

by Karen Belz
Karen Belz has written for sites such as Bustle, HelloGiggles, Romper, and So Yummy. She's the mom of a sassy toddler and drinks an alarming amount of Sugar-Free Red Bull in order to keep up with her.

It seems as if grocery store employees will always have something new to worry about. First, it was customers hoarding products.

Then, it was coming into contact with multiple people daily who might transmit the virus. And now? Now they have to try to make it through the day without someone assaulting them just for following government protocol.

As you know, wearing masks has been recommended for everyone who needs to venture outside for supplies. In general, masks may not be the most comfortable thing in the world — especially for doctors and nurses who must wear them every day.

But for the common person, a cotton mask is good enough. Any kind of covering that will separate your mouth and nose from the public is OK. Even so, it doesn’t mean that everyone’s psyched to wear one.

However, stores need to maintain those policies in order to keep both their customers and employees safe. Two suspects who went to a Target location in Van Nuys, California, on May 1 didn’t seem to understand. After being told they needed to leave the store, they punched one of the Target employees and left him injured.

The official police report states that two male suspects were being escorted out of the store after refusing to put masks on. While leaving, one of them felt like it would be a good idea to take his anger out on Target’s employees. A fight ensued. The incident was all caught on tape.

“As they approached the exit, one suspect, suddenly without provocation, turned and punched a store employee, causing him and the suspect to fall to the floor,” the police report said. “While on the ground, the store employee broke his left arm. A fight erupted between the two suspects and store employees.”

“Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics transported the store employee to a local hospital and [he] was treated for his injuries,” the statement continued. “The two suspects were shortly arrested on the same day for Felony Battery and their bail was set at $50,000.” According to the police, the subjects appeared to be related.

They were identified as 31-year-old Phillip Hamilton and 29-year-old Paul Hamilton. Luckily, the fight didn’t escalate even further. New mask laws have seemingly put a lot of people on edge, especially with employees who aren’t the ones making the rules. They’re just enforcing them.

According to KCRA, the fight left the employee with a broken left arm. Now his days at work will be even more unbearable. Target corporate staff responded to the incident, saying, “The safety and security of our guests and team members is our top priority.”

In comparison, the Target employee was lucky. A Family Dollar security guard named Calvin ‘Duper’ Munerlyn was shot and killed in a similar altercation over a mask. His incident also happened on May 1. The suspected murderer was identified as 23-year-old Ramonyea Bishop.

While these changes are hard for all of us, violence is never the answer. If you’re frustrated by these new rules, remember that they’re only in place to try to lessen the spread of the virus. Even though places are reopening, the virus is still a big threat.

We aren’t just trying to avoid it to not get sick. We’re also doing it to make sure our hospitals don’t get overcrowded. And since many of us may carry the virus without showing symptoms, it’s also a way to try to prevent accidentally passing it on to a loved one who may be more susceptible to it.

Even though it may seem as if we’ve been in our homes forever, it hasn’t been that long. And there’s still a lot about the virus that we don’t know. So these are just methods of precaution that are meant to help our whole community.

If you’re feeling frustrated by these new laws, think about the big picture before you make a mistake that could change the rest of your life. Getting violent with an employee in any way is making the problem so much worse. And it’s making retail employees even more fearful of doing the jobs we depend on them to do.

Having to deal with unstable customers is such a threat that the LA County Sheriff’s Department tweeted about it. “Please don’t take it out on businesses and their employees when it comes to wearing face coverings,” the department wrote, per TMZ. “They are trying to uphold the regulations governing their business being allowed to be open. They are having a rough time too.”

Right now, most states require a cloth mask. According to CNET, 38 states have issued face-covering requirements. And even if the government doesn’t have one in your state, it’s still a good precaution that couldn’t hurt. It’s so popular that people are even making their masks fashionable.

And California — where this incident took place — is one of the states that’s taking this seriously. “Several counties in the San Francisco Bay Area now require people to wear face masks when they go out in public,” states CNET. “The city of San Francisco has similar requirements, but only when its residents are entering essential businesses, when using public transportation, and seeking healthcare. The mandate is also in effect in Los Angeles and San Diego county.”

If you don’t have access to a mask, you can look online — or even in your neighborhood. Crafters everywhere are working hard to make sure that nobody goes without. And next time you’re at the store, consider thanking the employees you interact with for their hard work. They’ve become the unlikely heroes.

Always check with your health care provider concerning any symptoms you may be experiencing, and seek the most accurate information from the CDC and your state’s health department.