A Whole Foods supermarket security guard has been fired following an alleged violent confrontation, a spokesperson for the store has said.
A person claiming to be a witness to the attack said on social media that the guard slammed a young black shopper "repeatedly against concrete pillars", put the him in a "chokehold" and "restrained and suffocated" him until throwing him "face down on the pavement unconscious".
According to the witness the victom was locked out of the shop in Oakland, California by the guard, despite the fact that he was "immobile".
None of the employees present called the emergency services after the incident, according to the witness.
In her account of the incident the witness shared images of the young man lying on the pavement in a pool of blood. Further images show him being treated by paramedics.
The man was trying to purchase food with an electronic benefit transfer card, according to the witness, which provides people with food stamp benefits.
Whole Foods confirmed on Twitter that they had suspended a security guard following the incident.
@terrell_press The security guard involved in the incident has been suspended. We’re actively investigating the details w/our security firm.— Whole Foods Market (@WholeFoods) September 4, 2015
In a statement to KPIX 5, Whole Foods spokeswoman, Beth Krauss said: “Last night at our Oakland store, there was an altercation that escalated to violence. The graphic images circulating on Facebook and Twitter are disturbing to say the least.”
“The security guard involved in the incident has been suspended, and we are actively investigating the details with our security firm.”
“While we move swiftly to gather the facts, we want to make it clear that Whole Foods Market takes a zero tolerance approach to violence.”
@VainandAble We’re moving quickly to gather the facts, we want to make it clear that we take a zero tolerance approach to violence.— Whole Foods Market (@WholeFoods) September 5, 2015
@ncdonnas All incidents involving safety & security are top priority. We’re actively investigating the details w/our security firm.— Whole Foods Market (@WholeFoods) September 5, 2015
Krauss later confirmed that the security guard, who remains anonymous, had been “permanently removed” from Whole Foods Market.
It has not been confirmed whether the security guard will face any criminal charges. Reuse content
@MassonProjects We are taking this very seriously. The security guard involved in incident has been permanently removed from all WFM stores.— Whole Foods Market (@WholeFoods) September 4, 2015