This is what I know now. Alex Pea was charged with Robbery and assalt. The news stations in California will let you know most of it.
August 19, 2010
Contacts: John Henrichs
Henrichs Law Firm. P.C.
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2000
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Telephone: (213) 637-0500
Facsimile (213) 637-0503
Law Offices of
1525 Fair Oaks Avenue
South Pasadena, CA 91030
Telephone (626) 799-9375
DEAF MAN SUSPECTED OF SHOPLIFTING TORTURED AT FOREVER 21
Security Uses Excessive Force to Subdue a Suspected Shoplifter
[Hollywood, CA] August 19, 2010. On August 7, 2010, at Forever 21's flagship store in Hollywood, California, Alejandro "Alex" Rea, a deaf man, was suspected of shoplifting. As he left the store he was confronted and brutally attacked by store security guards.
According to Mr. Rea, the security guard approached him from behind and went around in front of him. The guard showed him some type of badge and was mumbling something. Mr. Rea motioned to him with his hand that he was deaf, but the security guard made no effort to communicate with him with a note pad, so Mr. Rea sort of shrugged his shoulders and took one step away. The security guard, suddenly jumped on him and started chocking him. The security guard never made another attempt to get eye contact with him, nor did he try to communicate with him again. The guard threw Mr. Rea to the ground, breaking his glasses, and injuring his left shoulder, hip, knee and leg.
"The most that store security can do, under the law, to detain a suspected shoplifter is use reasonable force. What Forever 21 did went well beyond that. It was outrageous. It was despicable. Forever 21 used excessive force under the circumstances. This was shoplifting, not protecting Fort Knox," said John Henrichs counsel for Alex and Pablo Rea.
The incident was caught on cell phone video by Joshua Fountain and displayed on YouTube at the following link:
As the video, which has been viewed almost 600,000 times, shows the security guard continued to choke Mr. Rea for quite some time, and he kept choking Mr. Rea even after people were yelling at him that Mr. Rea was turning purple. At first Mr. Rea was cooperative and just stayed on the ground. But when the guard started choking him harder, he could not breathe, so Mr. Rea attempted to get the guards attention by tapping him on the head and trying to use sign language to tell him to stop choking him.
Forever 21 contends that they did what was necessary to detain a "fleeing" suspect, even though he was not fleeing the scene. The video plainly shows that the security guard was trying to hurt Mr. Rea. In fact, after the guard took him back into the office, he shoved Mr. Rea against the wall, not once, but twice. "The bottom line here is that this security guard lost his head when the thought he was being ignored. This happens all too often to the deaf, even in everyday life, and that has to change" said Mr. Henrichs.
"It is no accident that the YouTube video has over 562,000 views. It is because it has hit a sensitive nerve. The people are outraged, they fundamentally understand that what happened was wrong on several levels. It is especially traumatic when it happened to a handicapped person" said Mr. Henrichs.
After the incident, Kristen Strickler of Forever 21's Marketing Department released the following statement to the press "We recognize that the security guard used excessive force, which is against our store policy and have suspended him indefinitely."
According to Mr. Henrichs, "the Henrichs Law Firm has written a letter to Forever 21 and asked to meet with them and to see if they want to participate in an out-of-court resolution of this matter. If they want to do the honorable thing, they will step up to their responsibility. If they do not, we plan on filing a lawsuit and aggressively pursuing it." As of the date of this press release the Henrichs Law Firm has not heard back from Forever 21.
6801 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028