OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A security guard for Whole Foods Market in Oakland has been fired after a violent incident allegedly took place Thursday night between the guard and a shopper, a Whole Foods spokesperson said.
Whole Foods officials tweeted at 11:24 a.m. Friday morning that a guard, who works at the store at 230 Bay Place, has been suspended and the company is investigating the incident with its security firm.
A person claiming to be a witness to the incident said in a Facebook post that the guard slammed the shopper repeatedly against concrete pillars, put the person in a chokehold, restrained him and threw him face down on the pavement.
The witness said the person was trying to buy groceries with an electronic benefit transfer card, which provides people with food stamp benefits.
In a statement to KPIX 5, Whole Foods spokeswoman Beth Krauss said: “Last night at our Oakland store, there was an altercation that escalated to violence. The graphic images circulating on Facebook and Twitter are disturbing to say the least. Whole Foods Market considers the safety and security of all team members, customers and members of our community a top priority. The security guard involved in the incident has been suspended, and we are actively investigating the details with our security firm. While we move swiftly to gather the facts, we want to make it clear that Whole Foods Market takes a zero tolerance approach to violence.”
Later Friday afternoon, Kraus confirmed the unidentified security guard had been “permanently removed” from Whole Foods Market.
No word yet on whether the security guard was facing any criminal charges.
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