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Two men were arrested at a Target in the Los Angeles area after a video of them fighting with employees escorting them out because they weren’t wearing masks went viral.
After allegedly refusing to wear masks, 31-year-old Phillip Hamilton and his brother Paul, 29, were being escorted out of the Van Nuys, California, store by store employees on the morning of May 1, according to the LAPD. Then, one of them turned around and punched one of the employees.
The ensuing brawl involved the two brothers, at least three store employees, and multiple other customers. During the fight, a Target employee broke his arm and was later taken to the hospital.
Both men, who the LAPD said were homeless, were charged with felony battery and had bail set at $50,000, according to the LAPD. They were released from custody on May 5, according to the Los Angeles Times. A spokesperson for Target called the fight an “unfortunate altercation” and said the company would cooperate with police in a statement to CBS Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County has required customers of essential businesses to wear face masks since April 15 in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus in the nation’s second-largest metro area. LA County has had 31,677 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus and 1,530 related deaths, according to STAT’s coronavirus tracker. Overall, the county makes up nearly half of all coronavirus cases in the state.
This is somehow not the only incident of coronavirus-related violence against essential workers. Three people in Flint, Michigan were charged in the alleged murder of a Dollar General security guard over his refusal to let a woman in without a mask, and in Oklahoma City, 32-year-old Gloricia Woody was arrested after allegedly shooting three McDonald’s employees who told her the in-store dining area was closed due to coronavirus restrictions.
Cover: Screenshot from security video