Guard fired after alleged racial profiling at Mission Grocery Outlet

- A security guard has been fired over an alleged racial-profiling incident captured on video at a new Grocery Outlet store in San Francisco's Mission District.

The incident happened on Mother's Day after local artist Amos Gregory bought groceries at the store on South Van Ness Avenue and was smoking in the store's parking lot. 

He said he heard a man behind him ask if he was waiting for an Uber.

"He starts the conversation about loitering," Gregory said. "He says we don't allow loitering here." 

The conversation turned heated and, and Gregory began recording with his cell phone.

"You just said I'm loitering? I''m a customer. Am I loitering? This is food I just bought. So why are you harassing me?" Gregory, who is black, can be heard asking the guard, who is white.

It quickly escalates. The guard accuses Gregory of disorderly conduct and trespassing and says he's calling San Francisco police. He cites California penal code section 602, for trespassing.

"I have a disorderly conduct refusing to leave private property," the guard says into his radio. "He is a paying customer, but that doesn't give him the right to loiter on private property."

 The guard then brings up the Black Lives Matter movement.

Gregory can then be heard asking, "Black Lives episode?"

"That's right," the guard replies.

"What are you talking about?"

"That's all you guys ever do is protest. This is private property," the guard responds.

"You guys? You guys?" Gregory asks.

"That's right...people like yourself," the guard says.

In the video, Gregory asks the guard, "I'm a paying customer. What 'people like me?'"

Gregory says he stopped recording and that the guard threatened to tase him.

During the incident, Gregory said his mind flashed to a mural he created last year about police shooting an unarmed person. 

"You get depressed, and you just start looking around your neighborhood and you just feel isolated."

He added, "This person lost his control over how he truly feels about people of color, black people, brown people."  

The Kingdom Group, a San Francisco security company, confirmed to KTVU that it fired the guard because of the incident. 

The company's president, Jim Vierra, said, "The actions and demeanor of the security agent at the store did not reflect the company's policy and protocol in how we treat people and how we address those situations. It was really disappointing."

Eric Liittschwager, owner of the Grocery Outlet store, said in an e-mail that he will have a meeting with the security company next week to "evaluate how we will proceed."

Liittschwager added, "We do need some security due to several violent encounters that staff have suffered. We've had one crew member stabbed and several strong-arm robberies in the two months we've been open, so some armed security in the short term."

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