3 men brutally beaten by mall security: lawsuit
Jon Woodward, ctvbc.ca
Published Tuesday, June 28, 2011 4:53PM PDT
Three men who say they were brutally beaten at the hands of the private security at Vancouver's Harbour Centre Mall sued the security firm Tuesday.
Shawn Alexander, Richard Kreke, and Luis Larrain say in lawsuits and in human rights complaints that employees of Fusion Security targeted them because they appeared to be poor.
"When private security single out people, there has to be repercussions. There has to be consequences," said the trio's lawyer, Douglas King, of Pivot Legal Society.
Alexander claimed that he and Kreke were leaving the BC Liquor Store on October 28, 2010, when they were stopped by security guards, dragged into a stairwell, and beaten viciously.
Pictures taken of the scene show blood all over the floor of the stairwell, and Alexander with blood seeping through heavy bandages on his head. He was taken to hospital and given nine stitches.
The lawsuit also claims that witnesses heard the beating and banged on the door to get security guards to open it, but the doors stayed closed.
The pair, who are admitted alcoholics, visit the liquor store three to five times a week, according to the claim.
Alexander said Tuesday that he was taken completely by surprise.
"I thought perhaps someone fit my description (and they were going after that person)," he said. "There was no reason for that to happen."
Luis Larrain said he was the victim of a similar beating about two months later in a similar lawsuit and human rights complaint.
Larrain had already been warned not to sell Hope in Shadows calendars on mall property, he said Tuesday, so he was selling them at Waterfront Station on Christmas Eve, 2010.
He said he needed to go to the bathroom and that's when guards grabbed him.
"They pushed me into the alley…they jumped on my back, they broke my shoulder," he said Tuesday. His left arm was fractured and his knee and back were bruised, and he contracted an infection in his left eye after his face was pushed to the floor, Larrain alleges in the statement of claim.
"It's not fair. They're not allowed to do that. They're not police officers," he said.
Const. Lindsey Houghton of the Vancouver Police said officers attended the October 28 incident, but decided there wasn't enough evidence to lay criminal charges.
Houghton said there was no record at the VPD of the December 24 incident.
Private security firms are licensed by the province. Provincial records show no previous violations by Fusion Security.
Alexander says he won't go back to the Harbour Centre.
"Even when I go by it on the bus, you know, it's very traumatizing," he said.
Harbour Centre Mall refused to comment on the case on Tuesday.
Fusion refused to comment on the specific incidents, but admitted over the phone that the company has incident reports for both encounters. In a statement e-mailed to CTV News, Fusion Security Vice-President Harry Stausgaard reiterated that police didn't lay charges in either incident.