'Shocked and horrified:' Video shows security in altercation with Indigenous woman

SASKATOON — The owner of a grocery store in Saskatchewan says he was "beyond shocked and horrified' by a video circulating online showing a security guard in a physical altercation with an Indigenous woman accused of shoplifting.

Chris Fowler, the Metis owner and a father of two daughters, posted on FreshCo's Facebook page Thursday that "this should of not happened ever."

article continues below

In a second post, Fowler said the Saskatoon store ended its contract with the third-party security provider and an investigation into what happened is underway.

The nine-minute video posted on social media on Wednesday shows a man kneeling on a woman as he attempts to handcuff her in the store’s parking lot.

The man identifies himself as security to bystanders and the woman claims she threw the receipt for her purchases in the garbage.

Bystanders question the man’s actions as he and the woman continue to struggle, both yelling for help and making accusations of assault at each other.

At one point, the woman punches the man in the face.

The woman eventually makes her way into the driver's seat of a vehicle and the man places his body on top of her.

Bystanders call for the security officer to let go of the woman and take her licence plate number instead.

"You are scaring her. Get off of her," a bystander says as the video ends.

Saskatoon police said they received a shoplifting call at the grocery store around 4 p.m. They arrived to find a 30-year-old woman being detained by a loss prevention officer.

Police said the woman refused medical treatment. She was taken into custody and charged with theft under $5,000 and assault.

The security guard had minor injuries and was treated on scene by paramedics. Police won't say whether they are looking into the guard's response, but confirmed the altercation is under investigation.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 First Nations Saskatchewan, called for charges against the security guard.

"First Nations women are disproportionately targeted and victimized," Chief Bobby Cameron said in a news release Thursday.

"This sad excuse of a man clearly assaulted her and needs to be held accountable for his disgusting actions."

The guard did not have the authority to use excessive force against the woman, added vice-chief Heather Bear.

"We will not tolerate the continued subjection of our women to indecencies and attitudes as if they were less important to society," Bear said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021.

— By Kelly Geraldine Malone in Winnipeg

© Copyright Weyburn Review