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Brawl over mask leaves security guard at US store with broken arm

Women wearing facemasks exit a shopping mall where a sign is posted at an entrance reminding people of the mask requirement Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall on June 12, 2020 in Arcadia, California
Women wearing facemasks exit a shopping mall where a sign is posted at an entrance reminding people of the mask requirement Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall on June 12, 2020 in Arcadia, California Frederic J. BROWN AFP/File
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Los Angeles (AFP)

Two brothers in California are facing criminal charges after getting into a brawl with security guards at a store for not wearing masks and leaving one of the guards with a broken arm.

Phillip and Paul Hamilton, 31 and 29 respectively, were confronted by the guards at a Target store in Van Nuys -- located about 18 miles (30 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles -- after they were spotted without face coverings, as required to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

As they were being escorted out, the pair punched one of the four security guards and a brawl ensued, leaving one of the guards with a broken arm, according to the complaint.

"Not wearing a mask is selfish, wrong and illegal," Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement on Friday. "We will absolutely not tolerate violence in response to appropriate efforts to assure business patrons wear face coverings.

"We have one common enemy -- and it's the virus, not each other."

The scuffle, which took place in May and was caught on video, is the latest in a string of similar incidents in the United States over the wearing of masks which has become a political issue.

The two brothers, who have been charged with multiple counts of battery and trespass, face more than a year in jail if convicted.

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