Starbucks barista punched over face mask policy, authorities say

California police are looking for a suspect after a Starbucks barista was allegedly punched in the face for asking the customer to put a mask on.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lancaster Station is asking for the public’s help identifying the alleged battery suspect. Law enforcement is looking to question a second man who witnessed the incident.

“Assaulting employees of any business is never acceptable. Let’s do all we can to keep our local shops safe. If you see something, say something!” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

The two men entered the Starbucks location in Lancaster, Calif., on June 4, CBS Los Angeles reported. When an employee asked them to put a mask on, one of the men allegedly punched the victim in the face.

“Our focus right now is on our partner and their recovery,” Starbucks said in statement. “We want to thank the LASD Lancaster Station for supporting the safety of our partner and the community, and we will continue to aid their investigation in any way we can.”

The outlet noted that the incident may have also involved the theft of a tip jar, but authorities have not yet confirmed that.

The Hill has reached out to the sheriff’s department for comment.

L.A. County began requiring residents to wear a mask at all times when leaving the house in mid-May. 

Starbucks this month mandated that customers and employees must wear face masks to enter all locations in the United States.

The debate over whether to require face coverings in public has become increasingly polarizing in recent weeks, even as COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket across the country. 

A barista at a Starbucks location in San Diego received more than $100,000 in donations through a GoFundMe fundraiser after he refused to serve a customer without a mask on.

A Ralphs grocery store worker in Los Angeles was suspended for five days after they pepper-sprayed a customer who became confrontational after being asked to wear a mask and allegedly rammed the worker with a shopping cart.

Tags Cailfornia coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 Face mask Los Angeles Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Ralphs Starbucks Starbucks
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