NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A security guard and an alleged shoplifter were both arrested late Friday after an altercation near a Century 21 department store in Lower Manhattan.
Witness Brian Fraser says his video shows a man screaming “I can’t breathe” while being held down by loss prevention employees at the Century 21 location on Cortlandt Street just before 10:30 p.m., reports CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.
Fraser told CBS2 by phone that one of the security workers even punched the alleged shoplifter at one point.
“The security from Century 21 started to choke him, punch him, and hold him down,” said Fraser. “You can hear him scream, ‘I can’t breathe.'”
Police reviewed the video, and charged the employee, 24-year-old Acosta Wilson with assault.
Police say the alleged shoplifter, Victor Roberson, complained of back and neck pain.
When police arrived, they were told Roberson placed two pairs of pricey Prada shoes valued at over $800 into his backpack without paying.
Roberson is charged with petit larceny and possession of stolen goods. According to the NYPD, Robertson had multiple previous arrests for petty larceny and grand larceny and an active warrant.
“I never feel like it’s justified to injure someone if they’re not trying to injure you,” said shopper Shawnte Thompson when shown the video.
“We will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement,” said Century 21’s executive director of stores in a statement.