California Grocery Store Employee Pepper Sprays Combative Customer Over Face Mask Dispute

cans of pepper spray on a store shelf
Sean Gallup / Getty Images

A California grocery store employee used pepper spray to subdue a combative customer upset over being told to wear a face mask, KCBS-TV reported.

According to witnesses, a man tried to enter a Ralph’s location in Los Angeles without wearing a face mask, which is required by local law. When a female employee told him to either put on a face mask or leave the store, he allegedly became combative, ramming the woman with a shopping cart.

“I was just coming down to the end of an aisle and all of a sudden I heard some commotion and people were getting in the aisle. I looked down there and there was this guy just yelling at someone, and then all of a sudden you see him, you know, take the handles of his cart and just try to ram this woman,” a witness said.

Another witness said the man was “screaming” about his mask.

Another woman tried to push the man out of the way, but he continued his violent tirade. It was then that a store employee sprayed the man with pepper spray to subdue him. According to Newsweek, it’s unclear, as of this writing, if the employee who pepper-sprayed the man was the same employee he was allegedly trying to ram with a grocery cart.

Portions of the incident were captured on cell-phone video, which can be seen below.

In the aftermath of the pepper-spray incident, another customer, also not wearing a mask, can be heard arguing with employees, telling them they were “taking away his right to buy food,” while the employees continued to insist that customers have to wear masks.

A puddle of milk could also be seen on the floor; milk can sometimes be used to treat the eyes of someone who has been pepper-sprayed.

An employee called the police and the man was taken to a hospital as a precaution. It remains unclear, as of this writing, if he will face any criminal charges.

The Ralph’s incident is the latest in a growing list of incidents in which a dispute over face masks has turned violent.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a dispute over a face mask at a Michigan store turned fatal, after a man — upset at being told to wear a face covering — stabbed a 77-year-old man. He fled and was later shot dead by police after allegedly approaching a deputy while holding a knife.