Street. Paul, MN (Fox 9) – The method used by a security guard to restrain a beggar outside the Grand Ole Creamery in St Paul last Wednesday night drew scrutiny from a crowd of onlookers, with some witnesses claiming that the guard used force and the way he pulled the man’s hair was excessive. The interaction was filmed by a digital reporter FOX 9. The community activists who were shown the video expressed their outrage, while the footage drew contrasting opinions from two force experts consulted by the station.
“From the reactions from the crowd to the excessive use of force, it is clear that this security guard was more focused on fomenting violence and fear than providing any sense of safety. He could have broken that young man’s neck and he never gave a reason for that,” said Margaret Sullivan, a community activist in St. Paul: “Why was he treating this individual this way.”
St. Paul police responded to the scene at 8:35 p.m. and separated the 25-year-old and the 52-year-old guard. The police detained the man and then arrested him on an activated warrant for theft. Since this incident is unrelated to the incident shown in the video, he is not named in this story because FOX 9 generally only mentions suspects if they are accused of a crime.
Saint Paul Police. Sgt. Dave McCabe said the incident was still under investigation and that police had yet to review footage of the meeting. He said police have also reached out to the neighborhood council and the city’s Homeless Assistance Response Team, a fairly new unit within the Department of Safety and Inspection, to address underlying tensions between homeless individuals and businesses along this stretch of Grand Avenue. Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call them at 651-266-5632.
Chase Hoffman, one of the owners of Grand Ole Creamery, said the company had problems with this man who has been harassing customers in front of their store for years and that he has been trespassing on property. He added that they are a registered sidewalk café, making it illegal to beg there as per the city code. He said he didn’t know if the bouncer was licensed, but he had worked with them for over 20 years, and they stood by the way he handled the situation.
According to Hoffman, the guard approached the man after customers complained. He said their surveillance footage showed that when the guard confronted him, the man initially ran off and walked down the sidewalk to the other side of the store, where the guard chased after him, but the resulting confrontation there was not captured on camera.
Grand Ole Creamery issued the following statement:
“Regarding the incident that occurred on July 6 around 830pm: a person with a trespassing notice document against him by the Grand Ole Creamery, again illegally trespassed and created a dangerous and hostile atmosphere for our customers. Despite multiple warnings and an infringement notice By not entering our store, he came to our store and created a hostile atmosphere.Therefore, our security team took steps to protect our customers and expel him.Security is waiting for the police to arrive so they can take over.Once the police reach the person who has been arrested for pending arrest warrants,including In that an infringement violation. Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident, and Grand Ole Creamery remains committed to providing a safe family environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”
According to the police report, the guard told the officers that when he asked the man to leave, he threw a notebook at him and then pushed him to shove him. The guard said he then pushed the man back and held him until the police arrived, according to the report.
Razan Ahmed, 19 from Saint Paul, the woman in the video was saying, “Please sir, can’t you use all that strength?” “You’re going to kill him,” and “Oh, my God, you’re going to break his neck.” The guard replied, “No,” and “I don’t break anything.”
She told FOX 9 that she first noticed the man leaving a nearby bar, then saw him eating on the sidewalk. After a few minutes, she heard a jingle behind her and turned around to see the guard asking the man to leave, before the guard grabbed the man’s hand, causing him to drop his food. She said that when the man turned around to pick up his food, the guard grabbed him and pushed him against the wall and started trying to restrain him.
“I was only afraid for his life because the way he was holding his neck was in a very strange position, so I thought he might break his neck,” she said.
She added: “All I could think of at the time was the possibility that this man might be harmed given how security was holding him on metal bars near them.
Other witnesses interviewed by FOX 9 also said they believed the bouncer had gone too far, including Lydia, a 12-year-old girl who had been in the store as the situation outside developed. She spoke to FOX 9 with her parents’ permission.
“I felt like this went too far, too much force. If he was going to be straighter instead of using that much force and I like to almost break his neck, it wouldn’t be like that it would end up better,” he said.
Lydia’s sister, Gillia, 16, added: ‘There were also other people on the outside who had a better point of view who were telling [guard] To reduce pressure and more gentle. So I guess his job is as a security guard, but as well, you don’t have to put that much pressure and possibly seriously harm someone.”
The guard declined an interview request from FOX 9.
Two experts on the use of force reviewed the footage at the request of FOX 9 and provided conflicting opinions.
Michael Rosen, who served in the IDF as a sergeant is president of Rosen Security Consulting and is an instructor in the master’s program in securities technology at the University of Minnesota. He described the guard’s actions as unprofessional and possibly illegal. He cited the state’s law governing how and when security guards appointed by a company can detain individuals, which states that “a detainee must be informed promptly of the purpose of detention and may not be subjected to unnecessary or unreasonable force.”
“Regardless of the plausibility of this person being held by a security officer or not, the way the detention went through was very unprofessional and perhaps negligent when it came to the use of the force side. They showed very poor training and monitoring techniques. I think it goes against, in It is my opinion, with many Minnesota laws that specifically state that a person shall not be subject to unnecessary and unreasonable force.”
Rosen said the way the guard grabbed the man’s hair and squeezed his neck was standing in front of him. “I think grabbing one’s hair as a way to control it is very reckless and very unprofessional, as well as spreading that knee into the neck. Those are the two things that really stuck out. Not only did that make it unprofessional but actually, I think, violated reasonable use. force here.”
Mickey McComb, a retired New Jersey soldier who now serves as a consultant and witness to the use of force, reviewed the video and said he found the ranger’s use of force reasonable. “What I would say is that the options used were reasonable and objectively reasonable based on the actions of the individual with whom he was dealing,” McComb said.
As for the way the guard grabbed the man’s hair, Macomb said it was a technique called “hair pulling” in Israel. “It’s a good way to control the head,” he said. “He wasn’t manipulating the head or the spine by moving his head all over the place. He was holding it. He was pushing his head down.”
He added that he believed the man tried to move his leg back to kick the guard. “The security officer didn’t want to kick and punch or do anything but try to control him,” he said.
Michelle Gross, president of United Communities Against Police Brutality, also reviewed the footage. “The security man bending the man against the pole, using his hair as a handle to fold his body and keep his head down in this way, etc., are all assault and should have been addressed by the police. Not addressing this security person’s behavior is directly biased police action.”
Karen J. Larson, one of the organizers of the St Paul Show who also has a show on Frogtown Radio, had reaction to the video:
“I just watched this very disturbing video of a security guard using unnecessary force against a homeless member of the community. Inhuman. No de-escalation. UNACCEPTABLE!”
Rosen, the security consultant, said he views the incident as part of a larger problem, as in cities across the country, companies are hiring more security guards or businesses in response to rising crime.
“What we’ve seen is that the level of professionalism, experience, and training ability varies widely. Especially when companies can’t afford it. [companies] At these more expensive rates…unfortunately, they often end up with individuals without proper training, without proper experience, and without proper insurance and liability protection. So I think it’s a serious problem.”