Face maskless-man dragged out of grocery store after assaulting employee
A video circulating on social media showing a man without a face mask being dragged out of a Den Helder grocery store does not tell the full story, according to witnesses and management of the Vomar supermarket chain. The video went viral after it was published earlier this week, and shows a security guard removing an older, bearded man from the store as an employee used a shopping cart to block anyone from entering the location.
Initially, the video went viral with the claim that the man was ejected from the store because he refused to wear a mask at the insistence of the guard. Since the beginning of December, masks have been required to be worn at indoor public locations to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, with some exceptions allowed for people with health issues preventing them from complying.
Anti-masker in the Netherlands gets dragged out after refusing to leave pic.twitter.com/FQSaKD1DFP— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) December 17, 2020
Some commenters called the act one of vigilantism, and were disturbed by the shameful display. "That security guard is wrong for using unnecessary violence," one said.
However, people claiming to be witnesses who saw the event unfold in person said the customer struck one worker and spat in the security guard's face before he was forcibly removed. On social media, people mentioned as well that another employee should have been called earlier to the scene when the customer became agitated.
"The customer was asked if he wanted to put on a face mask, but he refused. Then he became aggressive. When the security guard spoke to him about this, he was spat in his face," security company FSB told broadcaster NOS in a statement.
"Then the customer sat down in protest in front of the entrance and refused to leave. The situation escalated and several people became involved. The security guard therefore decided to call the police."
By Thursday night, the security guard had not made a formal statement to police as a step in pressing charges against the customer for spitting in his face. He was considering doing so as the viral video has led to him receiving threats and public scorn. "It's not nice what you see, but the situation got so out of hand that the security guard had to intervene.
Vomar confirmed that the man acted disruptively in the store, but said the security guard reacted inappropriately. "It seems in this film recording that it concerns a discussion about whether or not to wear a face mask. However, this customer misbehaved in our store and therefore was asked to leave the store. The manner in which this happens is very regrettable and is absolutely not our policy."
Vomar said it would apologize to the customer.