LAPD - Video

VAN NUYS (CNS) — Two men accused of assaulting a Target security guard who confronted them about their refusal to wear masks inside the Van Nuys store were freed on bail and are awaiting word on possible criminal charges.

The confrontation occurred about 10:20 a.m. on May 1 at the Target store in the 5700 block of Sepulveda Boulevard, said Officer Drake Madison of the Los Angeles Police Department.

According to police, the men entered the store without wearing face coverings, and were confronted by employees. After they allegedly refused to put masks on, a security guard began to escort them out, police said.

“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,” according to an LAPD statement. “While on the ground, the store employee broke his left arm.”

The security guard was taken to a hospital and treated, police said.

Phillip Hamilton, 31, and Paul Hamilton, 29, were arrested a short time later on May 1 and were booked on suspicion of felony battery, with bail set at $50,000 each, police said. Both were released on May 5, according to the sheriff’s department. Police could not say if the men are related to one another.

Customers patronizing essential businesses in the city of Los Angeles have been required to wear face coverings while inside stores since April 10, when Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an order requiring their use in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Los Angeles County officials issued a similar order that took effect April 15.