A Century 21 security guard is in custody after using excessive force on a teenager suspected of shoplifting.
According to police Wilson Acosta and two other security guards pursued Victor Roberson, 19, after he walked out of the downtown department store with two pairs of Prada shoes in his backpack.
As the security guards detained Roberson, witnesses began recording when things started turning violent.
Brian Fraser who recorded the incident and later posted it online said he was afraid for Roberson's life when Acosta began choking him.
"He put his hands around his neck and started choking him, covering his mouth and punching him. [Roberson] was saying, ‘I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!"
In the video Acosta is shown choking and punching Roberson as he is being held down by the two other guards. A bystander can be heard in the background screaming “Get off him! Get off him!” The three guards then dragged Roberson further down the block as other security personnel attempted to disperse the growing crowd.
Roberson was taken into custody when police arrived on scene, but after reviewing footage of the incident they later arrested Acosta, charging him with assault.
When the video was posted online many responded, agreeing that Acosta was justified using force on the teenager.
Can we please put this all within context: a #thief went into a store and stole property which he did not pay for. We are now upset why the security handled him roughly? Is this what our sad society has come down to? If he had paid for the shoes, he wouldn’t be roughed up.— Chaplack (@chaplack_ny) May 12, 2018
The dude that stole deserves to be in jail. End of story. The rest doesn’t matter— Mike Swisher (@Swishthekid) May 13, 2018
Others though pointed out that this type force goes well beyond the authority of security personnel...
Security is not allowed to hit anyone, and who was the idiot telling people to leave for their own safety? A store clerk with no authority who was overstepping?— Anthony A. Paluzzi (@anthonyapaluzzi) May 12, 2018
If you don’t see any brutality, please don’t ever apply for a security position. Shoplifting is a nonviolent crime, doesn’t merit choking the man. Nothing does. That is a far worse crime.— HartbrakебляMcCarthy (@BumpItMcCarthy) May 12, 2018
And that the force Acosta used was not only criminal, but emblematic of the tendency for excessive force to be used on persons of color.
There are several lessons.. the most important is that violence is never ok. I’m not defending the alleged offense, but I will not stand by and watch a beating, an injustice happen before my eyes without saying something.— Ms. Jessica (@IamMsJessica) May 13, 2018
They should all be charged with gang assault unlawful detention and century21 should be sued— Dennis keller (@Dennisk56954214) May 13, 2018
Although Acosta was arrested, his actions reflected many similar cases and called into question the lack of police accountability in regards to excessive force.
H/T - HuffPost