A video shared on social media shows a grocery store employee pinning down a Black man and pressing against the back of his neck. The incident took place on Sunday at a Met Foodmarkets in Brooklyn, New York.
Twitter user @mandolinbread shared a series of videos taken by a bystander who reportedly shared the video with them and said, “Put this all over social media.”
“The man on the ground was accused of stealing and was tackled & put in a chokehold by the employee,” wrote the user, who did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment. “The employee apparently has a history of violent overreactions. The Black man was arrested & [the] employee was not.”
The 2-minute video shows the employee on the ground on top of a Black man, pinning him face down against the floor.
At the beginning of the video, the employee is grabbing the victim by his arms while bystanders are heard protesting against his actions.
“Since 1972 we’ve been here, doing the same shit!” says a man who was identified as another employee. He also told bystanders to “shut your mouth.”
“I can’t breathe,” the victim is heard saying.
“That is not nice because we come to your store,” a woman says behind the camera as others continue protesting against the employee’s action. “We don’t need this.”
Another Black customer screams, “Go suck your mother’s cunt!” and the employee is heard screaming, “Shut your mouth! You don’t know shit!”
“We don’t need this because we support the store,” says the woman behind the camera.
“Honey, I support everybody in this neighborhood but when you steal, when you steal, I have zero tolerance,” the employee says.
“Show me what I stole,” the Black man is heard saying while the other employee says he has stolen “a few times.”
“I don’t see color, I’m Palestinian,” he says before turning to another bystander and yelling, “You see color! ‘Cause you’re a fucking fool. You’re ignorant.”
At this point, the employee on the ground is seen repeatedly telling a bystander, “Mind your business!”
While the victim remains under his hold, the other employee steps on the arm of the victim as though to hold him down.
When the victim says, “I want you all to record this,” the employee mocks him. At this point, the victim screams, “He’s squeezing my neck!”
The employee repeatedly says “shut the fuck up” then uses his left hand to press against the neck and choke the Black man.
The man screams as someone says, “You’re on top of him!”
“I ain’t doing shit!” the employee yells as the man cries out.
“No! No,” he says as others ask him to get off the victim. “Not ’til the cops get here.” The other employee is seen holding down the victim’s leg from the back.
“It’s not worth killing someone!” yells one of the bystanders as cops arrive.
In a second video shared by the Twitter user, cops are seen trying to detain the Black man as he requests his shoes.
“Show me where I stole something,” he says as he’s being handcuffed. “They’re arresting me and I didn’t even do nothing.”
“It doesn’t make sense to be cuffing him right now,” another person says to the cops. “Just have him leave the store.”
The woman behind the camera says, “We shop here. One person might steal, but you have to respect us.”
In a follow-up tweet, the Twitter user said the woman who recorded the incident was West Indian herself, and “she & other neighbors confirmed that they’ve seen racism in this store for years.”
On Monday morning, Met Foodmarkets shared a note on Instagram acknowledging the incident.
In the statement, the store said a “known repeated shoplifter attempted to shoplift from our business.” The statement said when the store members tried to stop him, he “became aggressive” and “assaulted” the staff, which “required the staff to defend themselves.”
“We stand with Black communities in solidarity,” the statement said. “This incident is regrettable and we promise to do our best to ensure that every person who comes to our business is treated with dignity and respect.”
A store employee answered the phone on Monday afternoon but did not provide comment to the Daily Dot.