On September 3rd, a shopper at a Whole Foods grocery store was violently assaulted by an armed security guard. The incident occurred at 9:45pm, ending with the victim in a pool of blood on the concrete outside of the store.
Store officials commented immediately in a Twitter post, wherein they confirmed that the security guard in question worked at the store. “We are aware and take this extremely serious, we’re looking into this immediately.” Details around how the altercation erupted are still unclear. However the Whole Foods spokeswoman, Beth Krauss said the guard “interceded when the customer made physical contact with a team member inside the store.”
Other reports from customers in the store tell another story. Customer and Oakland resident Zoe Marks took to Twitter to recount what she witnessed that day. “I just saw a young man violently assaulted by an armed security guard at Whole Foods, slammed repeatedly against concrete pillars, put in a chokehold, restrained and suffocated until he was thrown face down on the pavement unconscious,” Marks wrote. “The guard locked him out of the store despite the fact he was immobile. Not a single employee called the paramedics. He was trying to buy groceries with his EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card and ended up in a stretcher.” The comments were paired with images of the victim in a pool of his own blood.
This isn’t the first time violence has broken out at this Whole Foods location on 230 Bay Place near Lake Merritt in Oakland. In recent years looters and protesters have thrown objects at the store windows, shattering the store fronts. The windows are additionally otherwise deface amid protests in the area over police brutality. As such the store is consistently monitors by armed security guards, who are available to facilitate a safe environment for staff and shoppers. The guards, for example, are available to escort persons to their vehicles upon request.
While some of the violence is with regard to protests, other violence breaks out as well at other Northern California locations. A suspected shoplifter stabbed a security guard last year at a location in San Francisco.
Krauss stated that the security guard involved in the altercation this September “has been permanently removed from Whole Foods Market.” The Whole Foods store has additionally fired the security company where the guard was employed, Admiral Security Services. They have since hired A.G.S. Private Security to monitor the property.