VIDEO: Security Guard Attacked by Homeless Man at Mcdonalds. Reasonable Force?
Even a quick internet search using the terms “Security Guard” and “homeless” reveals the ongoing saga of conflict between the two groups. The conflict can increase when a Security Guard must request homeless persons to vacate a business to make room for paying customers.
A recent violent attack on a Santa Monica, CA, Security Guard by two homeless men perfectly illustrates this point. A video of the attack has since been syndicated nationally and has sparked new concern about this ongoing issue.
While, luckily, none of the individuals involved in this particular incident were seriously injured, serious injury or even fatality is not uncommon when these two groups clash. In this article, learn more about what prompted the incident, its outcome, how people across the nation are responding to the news and what you as a Security Guard can do to protect yourself on the job.
The Santa Monica Incident
On July 5, 2017, in the early evening, a McDonald’s client captured video footage of a brawl between two homeless men and one Security Guard. The Security Guard, on behalf of his client, the McDonald’s restaurant, had requested that the two homeless men who were asleep at a table either purchase some food or leave the establishment.
As the video highlights, the two homeless men reacted violently to the Security Guard’s request. They immediately began to assault and attack the Security Guard, who used a canister of pepper spray in self-defense. This did not deter one of the homeless men, who continued to assault the Security Guard with a barrage of punching, hitting and kicking. He subsequently attempted to use the Security Guard’s baton against him.
Onlookers then jumped in to try to break up the fight. Eventually, the Security Guard was able to remove the two homeless men from the business, and local law enforcement arrested one of the men for assault with a deadly weapon (the guard’s baton). To date, no new news has been released about the assault or any pending trial.
There has been no comment from the Security Guard’s employer or any mention of whether the guard had an active Private Security Insurance policy in place.
What Would You Have Done?
Of course, the big question here is whether the brawl could have been prevented. Do you think there would have been any way to ask the homeless individuals to leave without prompting a fight? According to many homeless within Santa Monica, a lack of sleep for long periods of time can be a big contributor to these altercations.
Local law enforcement uphold the Security Guard’s actions, stating that the McDonald’s is private property and, as a business, has the legal right to ask non-paying clientele to depart. The video also shows several bystanders making the choice to jump in to help the Security Guard and attempt to break up the fight.
Handling Incidents Between Security Guards and the Homeless
It is difficult to determine exactly how frequently fights between Security Guards and homeless persons happen.
However, according to the Washington Post, what is clear is that the demand for Security Guards is growing 15 percent faster than the national average.
As well, the population of homeless persons in Los Angeles, CA, alone has jumped 23 percent in one year, says a 2017 LA Times article. The reason cited is lack of housing.
As this article showcases, it is an easy yet incorrect assumption to make that homeless persons are homeless by choice. In the case of Los Angeles’ homeless, the housing shortage is clearly exacerbating an already challenging situation. With rents far outpacing income, even veterans are finding it nearly impossible to locate affordable housing in or near the city limits.
With this type of burgeoning social crisis, there is only so much any single Security Guard Professional can accomplish peaceably, even within the boundaries of local law.