Toronto police say a man who was injured in an interaction with a loss prevention officer at Shoppers Drug Mart at York University allegedly stole a $2 bottle of pop.
The man, 25, has been charged with assault, assault with intent to resist arrest, possession of property obtained by crime, and theft under $5,000 in the incident on Friday. He appeared in court on Saturday and is due back in court on May 2nd.
Const. Victor Kwong, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said the man who was charged allegedly punched the loss prevention officer in the face and allegedly had his hands around the officer's throat.
According to Shoppers Drug Mart, the loss prevention officer is on leave due to injuries sustained in the incident.
In a video posted on the Facebook page of the York United Black Students' Alliance, the accused man is lying on the ground outside of the store's entrance, with his leg twisted at an unnatural angle.
He screams in pain. Onlookers and security guards hover nearby.
"Help me!" the man yells repeatedly.
"Yes, an ambulance is on the way," someone can be heard saying in the video.
"I walked in and I saw him being tackled, man," a person can be heard saying off camera.
Kwong said the loss prevention officer has not been charged with assault and he is waiting to hear back from investigators as to why no charge has been laid.
"Right now, there are no charges even pending," Kwong said.
He said the injured man was taken to hospital, treated and released.
Shoppers Drug Mart said that it plans to conduct a "thorough investigation."
Tammy Smitham, Shoppers Drug Mart vice-president of external communication, said Monday in an email that its stores often employ third-party loss prevention officers to help deter and identify theft.
"We never encourage physical interaction between loss prevention representatives and individuals in our stores," she said.
Smitham confirmed the loss prevention officer is on leave and was injured as well. She said further information should come from Toronto police.
Boycott Shoppers, students say
"Shoppers Drug Mart is committed to diversity and to being inclusive, equitable and accessible in our interactions with each other and with customers," she said.
Licensed private security guards are regulated under Ontario's Private Security and Investigative Services Act (2005), which includes a Code of Conduct.
Under that code, licensed private security guards must "refrain from exercising unnecessary force" and "refrain from behaviour that is either prohibited or not authorized by law."
The York United Black Students' Alliance is calling on York University community members, meanwhile, to boycott Shoppers Drug Mart.