SAN FRANCISCO CA May 19 2017 A security guard at a San Francisco Mission District Grocery Outlet has been fired after a video showed him racially profiling a customer in the store’s parking lot.
The customer, local artist Amos Gregory, said in a YouTube post he had just bought items for a Mother’s Day meal he was preparing when a security guard wearing tactical gear approached him and accused him of loitering.
I complete my shopping and pause before I haul my soon-to-be M’Day feast in my shopping cart through the parking lot and stop to have a smoke before I grab my purchased things and a security guard asks if I am waiting for an Uber…I say “no”, just walking home and thank you very much.
Guard then says I am loitering and proceeds to say that “Your people are not wanted here at this store”, says that my objections toward him are nothing more than a “Black Lives Matter” and people like me creating problems. Huh? He then threatens to call the police, which he did not, and threatens to taser me. I left and went to the police station to file the report that he threatened me with.
In the video, the security guard uses a walkie-talkie to ask a colleague to call police because Gregory was refusing to leave private property. “He’s a paying customer, but that doesn’t give him the right to loiter on the property,” the guard is heard to say. He is also heard making remarks about Black Lives Matter, and saying. “That’s all you guys ever do, protest.”
Gregory is a muralist in San Francisco, and has painted works illustrating interactions between police and unarmed protesters. “I think he just lost control of himself and started saying what was really on his mind,” Gregory told KPIX 5.
Gregory also alleges the unidentified guard rushed up to him after the video was turned off and threatened to use a Taser on him. After leaving the parking lot, Gregory went to a police station to file a report.
The Grocery Outlet opened in March of this year on the 1200 block of South Van Ness between 23rd and 24th St. at a site that had been vacant for years.
On a Facebook post, Gregory wrote “To be honest with you, getting lower cost groceries is wonderful but not when you and people who look like you (black people) cannot go in there safely without getting shot, tasered or harassed by some racist security personnel.”
After seeing the video, owner Eric Liittschwager told Hoodline that he asked San Francisco-based Kingdom Group, which contracts security guards, to bar the guard from his store.
“I was appalled,” Liittschwager told Hoodline. “This isn’t who we are.”
Kingdom Group said the company immediately fired the guard in the video and apologized to Gregory, saying the security guard was clearly the wrong person in the wrong position, and it never should have happened.
Gregory said racial profiling is something he always has to deal with, but he’s glad to see a cellphone offer some protection. “That’s an everyday,” he said. “But kind of uplifting to have the power of the cellphone.”