The victim was taken to a hospital, and the alleged attacker just became the Honolulu Police Department’s latest CrimeStoppers suspect. An employee who works at the same 7-Eleven as the victim said the incident has scared workers.
Now, state lawmakers are stepping in to protect retail workers who have no choice but to enforce state and county health requirements.
“It’s a health and safety issue,” said Rep. Roy Takumi. “It’s like saying, ‘You won’t be served if you’re not wearing a T-shirt or shoes.”
Takumi introduced House Bill 1589, which would make it a felony to assault retail workers.
“Just comply with it. Otherwise, you could be charged with a class C felony,” Takumi said. “It’s a simple request.”
The charge could result in a minimum one year prison sentence.
Over the last two years, people around the world have been murdered, assaulted and verbally abused for enforcing COVID-19 health mandates.
In December, a judge sentenced a Minnesota man to one year in prison for repeatedly striking a Menards lumber store employee with a piece of wood after the worker asked him to wear a mask.
A Michigan security guard was murdered just weeks after a state ordered mask mandate was imposed.
Locally, an Oahu man is expected to go to trial this April for allegedly punching a 71-year-old security guard over a mask dispute.
Rep. Tina Wildberger called the proposed bill “an important protection measure for front line workers.”
“While we try to find that balance of allowing our economy to flourish and protecting public health, our front line workers need support,” she added.
Maria Cid Medina is an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist with a background in print. She resides and reports in the San Francisco Bay Area and has covered a wide range of stories from crime to corruption and housing issues.