RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Kroger is launching an investigation after video surfaces of loss prevention officers attempting to detain an alleged shoplifter outside the Kroger on Lombardy Street. People on scene claim it was all over a bag of potato chips.
"Stop being stupid!" screamed one of the loss prevention guards to the belligerent suspect. "Stop being stupid!"
Kevin Carroll with the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police feels these guards have a tough job.
"There are not enough police officers in the world to do this. The whole argument with us is, just comply," said Carroll. "Just say 'I'm sorry. I did it,' and move on."
Carroll says many loss prevention guards do not have arrest powers. Carroll says they can only detain suspects until police arrive.
"Don't touch me or I'm going to put you in jail, too!" said the visibly frustrated loss prevention officer.
Carroll says the initial confrontation is not the time to fight back... even if you know you are innocent.
"I'd be calling Chris Thomas to say, 'Come and do an interview with me, because I've been unlawfully arrested,'" said Carroll.
Some people on scene claimed excessive force.
"Get off of his neck!" shouted a customer to the loss prevention guards. "You are on his neck. He can't breathe."
Carroll says some companies advise loss prevention officers not to engage with suspects.
"Most companies don't even want them to engage in these type of things. If the person resists like that, they would tell them to just let them go," said Carroll. "What happens if you try and detain someone like that, and they have a heart attack and die while you are trying to detain them? Guess who's going to get sued?"
Richmond Police say they have no record of an incident report being filed.
Kroger released the following statement:
"The male in contact with the alleged shoplifter and the female in the purple shirt are part of our loss prevention unit. The safety of our customers and associates is our highest priority. While the incident at our Lombardy Street location was an isolated situation, we take it very seriously and are investigating. This incident is not a reflection of our company's security procedures."
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