Outraged residents are calling for the firing of several security guards after they were caught on video kicking, punching, and choking a high school freshman at a Marine Park shopping center.
The video shows at least four security guards attacking 16-year-old Christopher Henry — who is now being charged for assault — at the Kings Plaza Shopping Center on Oct. 5. And the mall cops allegedly continued beating him until police arrived, according to an eyewitness who took the graphic 30-second video, and thinks they should be fired.
“They should lose their jobs — anger in that job title should never overtake you,” said Shaunternette Melton, who added she would never want her young son to suffer an attack like this. “They busted his head open as he got upstairs.”
Livid locals held a press conference on Oct. 8 at the mall calling for justice for Henry, who was arrested after the incident and charged with assault, attempted assault, menacing, disorderly conduct, and harassment. The security guards have been suspended by their employers, AlliedBarton Security Services, but they have not been charged with any crime.
Henry’s mother, Susan, said she is beyond angry at how the situation is being handled and she plans to press charges against the guards — especially the duo who repeatedly assaulted her son even after he was restrained.
“I am pissed,” she said. “I’m going to press charges on them — especially the one that was trying to strangle him and the one kicking him in his head.”
Steve DeClara, the senior manager of Kings Plaza, said the video is “disturbing,” and that the shopping center is cooperating with the police investigation of the incident.
A spokeswoman for the security company blamed the fisticuffs on Henry, claiming that he attacked the guards first after they asked him to leave the mall.
“Immediately prior to the events shown on the video, this individual had instigated a violent disturbance at the mall and after refusing to leave as instructed, had assaulted members of our security team,” said Samantha Thomas, a spokeswoman for AlliedBarton Security Services. “All security officers involved have been suspended pending a thorough investigation.”
The shopping center is no stranger to violent disruptions, but previous incidents centered on fights between teens, rather than altercations with mall security. Last winter, a large group teens got into a massive mall brawl a few days after Christmas.
A local community activist said he is meeting Kings Plaza managers to brainstorm new policies to end mall brawls altogether — but first, he wants to make sure the guards involved in the Henry incident don’t return to the mall.
“I will be calling for the immediate firing of those guards involved,” said Tony Herbert. “We have to come up with a plan to help deflect any of those circumstances ever happening again.”