Customer caught on camera punching store employee after argument over mask wearing

Local

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a customer captured on store security video punching and kicking an employee.

The employee told responding officers that it all started when he asked the customer to comply with health guidelines and wear a mask.

Albany Police say it happened around 5:30 p.m. on June 12 at Hair and Wig Beauty Supply on Central Avenue. The store security camera captured what happened.

“The suspect punched the employee in the face with a closed fist. Kicks the employee in the shin and then proceeds to punch the employee in the face once again before fleeing the store. The injuries sutstained were minor but consistent with an assault and a report has been taken,” says Albany Officer Steve Smith.

For the most part, we are becoming accustomed to wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would allow businesses to refuse service to anyone who doesn’t wear one, but there have been reports of some patrons who simply refuse to wear them.

In order protect their employees from any possible conflicts with customers, stores like Hannaford and Stewart’s Shops announced in May that their associates will not be asked to enforce the wearing of masks by patrons.

Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, says he does not want businesses to be unfairly punished, either.

“What we don’t need is the state coming in and enforcing, and fining and penalizing. What we need the state to do is, if procedures are not being followed, to help employers to do so,” he said.

NEWS10’s Anya Tucker asked Officer Smith to share his advice for employees or business owners when a client or customer refuses to comply with mask wearing and they do not wish for things to escalate.

“They can certainly call the police. We would want them to avoid any altercation with a customer. Call the police and let us repsond and enforce what we need to enforce.”

The store owner tells NEWS10 that the employee is recovering and is expected to return to work soon.


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