Mall Cops Investigated for Violence
Province investigating two cases of alleged mall security violence
Dec 21, 2012 - CBC News
Provincial investigations are underway into two alleged assaults by shopping mall security guards in 2012, one involving a 16-year-old photographer and the other involving a man in a wheelchair.
The CBC's Eric Rankin broke the stories two months ago, and has learned since that widespread public reaction may have led to progress with photographer's rights and the rights of the disabled in B.C.
In September, Jakub Markiewicz, 16, photographed a security guard take-down at Burnaby's Metrotown Mall, and was then arrested and detained himself.
He was held by security and handcuffed by the RCMP because he refused to delete the photos he took, which was impossible in any case, as he was shooting on film.
Now, Markiewicz has been contacted by provincial investigators who look into alleged abuses in the private security industry.
"The authorities are doing what they should be doing," he said.
Markiewicz says he is optimistic that he'll see a positive outcome from the investigation.
Already, he has received positive public feedback through the attention the story received on the internet, particularly on sites about photographers' rights. One man has bought his photos, and a photo supply company has sent Markiewicz a $200 camera bag to replace the backpack that police cut off during his arrest.
Markiewicz says his run-in with the Metrotown guards and Burnaby Mounties, has only increased his interest in journalism, and further opened his eyes to social issues.
'Don't remove from wheelchair,' guards instructed
Shortly after Markiewicz's story first aired in October, CBC News learned of another violent mall take-down that was recorded by an amateur photographer.
The shaky cell phone video shows a man, who appears to have one leg, in an electric wheelchair, surrounded by three undercover security guards at Vancouver's Pacific Centre Mall.
The guards, employees of Genesis Security, suspect him of shoplifting and one of the guards starts swearing before knocking the man out of his wheelchair with a blow to the head.
"I'll f--kin' throw you on the ground and f--k you up!” the guard is heard saying on the video. “Don't f--k with me ... On the ground! On the ground! On the ground! You're so stupid — on your chest!"
The province's Ministry of Justice is also investigating the actions of the guards
Ashley Meehan, speaking for Genesis Security Genesis security, said staff has been instructed never to remove someone from their wheelchair again.
"We don't want someone being removed from a wheelchair. They're in that chair for a reason, we don't know what the reason may be," he said.