HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu police arrested a man, 27, for allegedly punching a 71-year-old security guard in the head after refusing to wear a mask in a public Waikiki area.
According to the Honolulu Police Department (HPD), the incident happened around 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17, at a COVID testing site.
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Police said the 27-year-old man became angry when he was asked to put a mask on and show a QR code. He then took out that frustration on the guard while being escorted off the property. The guard works for a company called Private Security Group.
“We were so surprised and empathetic immediately, but it also made us realize how sensitive the issue is and how important it is for us to look out for our kupuna,” said Melanie Long of Private Security Group.
The man was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault because the security guard was over the age of 60.
“It’s not that it’s something that we, sometimes, don’t expect. It’s a really emotional time; it’s very charged. It’s so frustrating when people are asked to put your mask on, and we have to be reminding people and they feel upset and uncomfortable. It’s just a scary time,” Long added.
To avoid similar situations, the company will be handing out masks at testing sites moving forward. Nomi Health, which runs the testing site, is asking guests to show aloha to workers.
“Make sure we remind everyone, please, live aloha. Let’s take care of each other and do what we got to do especially, you know, on behalf of all of us at Private Security Group, but for everybody else on in our islands, we’re just sharing the aloha,” Long said.
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As for the guard, the company said he is in good spirits and is ready to get back to work.
HPD reported the investigation is ongoing.