Toronto Canada March 28 2017 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, Toronto police say.
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.
'Troubling incident' with campus Shoppers Drug Mart loss-prevention officer leaves man's leg badly hurt
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 to the York United Black Students' Alliance's Facebook page, 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 as 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 says the loss prevention officer has not been charged with assault and that 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.
The injured man was taken to hospital with a twisted ankle, treated and released, police confirmed Sunday.
For its part, Shoppers Drug Mart says it plans to conduct a "thorough investigation."
In an email, Tammy Smitham, Shoppers Drug Mart vice-president of external communication, said the company's 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.
"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."
A formal complaints process is available through the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
"Should an individual believe licensed security personnel or companies have contravened the Private Security and Investigative Services Act or any of its regulations, the ministry may review and investigate the complaint and take appropriate action, as necessary," spokesperson Brent Ross said.
Ross would not comment further, saying the case is before the courts.
Meanwhile, the York United Black Students' Alliance is calling on York University community members to boycott Shoppers Drug Mart.