An eye witness to the attack, Zoe Marks, on visit from Edinburgh, Scotland where she lectures at the University of Edinburgh, gave an eyewitness account of the assault on her Facebook, posting graphic images of the victim. She told the Oakland Tribune that she saw the argument between the cashier and the victim as he was trying to use an EBT card (a food stamp card that works like a debit card), but said that the victim wasn’t “shouting,” nor was her “violent or disruptive.” In fact, Marks said the man wasn’t a threat to anyone and that she felt “safe” until the armed security guard came and “attacked him.”
In a Facebook status Marks described the “violent assault,” saying the guard “slammed” the victim against “concrete pillars.” He also allegedly put the man in a chokehold and “suffocated” him before throwing him on the ground unconscious. Then the guard reportedly locked the man out of the store despite the fact that he was unconscious.
She said none of the employees called the paramedics, instead they called for backup.
"They were treating him as a threat as he lay unconscious in his own blood,” Marks told the Tribune.
Marks reportedly spoke to the victim as she tried to keep him conscious, as well as the security guard, other eyewitnesses and police to give her account.
Here’s Marks' post about the incident. Warning: Graphic images below.
In Oakland less than four hours and I just saw a young man violently assaulted by an armed security guard at Whole Foods...
Oakland Police are currently investigating the attack. They said that the victim remains in stable condition at a local hospital.
Whole Foods has since released a statement via spokeswoman Beth Krauss:
“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. Whole Foods Market considers the safety and security of all team members, customers and members of our community a top priority. 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.”
Krauss also added that the security guard has been "permanently removed from Whole Foods Market."
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