Over a dozen protesters, irate about the treatment of a black man by a black security guard at a Whole Foods several weeks ago, shut the Oakland store down on Thursday.
According to the Contra Costa Times, the protesters occupied the 230 Bay Place Whole Foods location around 5:30 p.m. and stood in front of all but at least two checkout stands for about an hour as customers, police, and store officials watched.
Last month, a security guard from Admiral Security Services reportedly beat the unnamed man bloody and unconscious, resulting in Whole Foods permanently severing ties with the security provider and replacing them.
Civil rights attorney John Burris, who is representing the injured male customer, reportedly declined to name his client, citing the man’s wish for anonymity, according to the Times. Burris said his client is recovering from a concussion, facial fracture, and subsequent surgery resulting from the September 3 incident.
The violent incident reportedly took place after a verbal spat between a cashier and the customer became physical, when the security guard arrived. The guard allegedly proceeded to slam the shopper against a concrete pillar outside the store before placing him in a chokehold until he passed out.
The Times notes that labor activists and local Black Lives Matter movement leader Cat Brooks were also present at the protest.
Several media sources have also reported that the victim allegedly entered the Whole Foods inebriated and was attempting to use his EBT card to purchase non-food items, such as alcohol, cleaning products, and cat food, which is not permitted under the federal and state-sponsored program.
One witness also claimed the man became vexed when his EBT card was declined, broke open the cat food, dumped it on the floor, and spat in the face of the store’s manager and cashier.
The Times also reports that the security guard confronted the customer after he allegedly hit a store employee. The investigation is incomplete.