Insecurity with Security and the Law

by Derek Williams

One Saturday, I was sitting in front of the Safeway on Church and Market streets when a petite Black woman came up to me and told me that a store security guard just struck her on the head with a broomstick from behind. What made that worse was that she was on the toilet. What’s a mall cop doing in a women’s bathroom anyway?

A friend of mine overheard our conversation and commented that there had to be more to the story than meets the eye, but the woman insisted she was telling the truth. I asked her if she was in pain, or at least embarrassed. She replied that she was insulted and that she was going to sue the security company.

Another person with whom I was talking wondered what would be her best course of action. I suggested to him that he escort the woman back to the store, so she could gather enough information she would need to take legal action.

About 30 minutes later, she returned and told me that the staff was uncooperative with providing the needed information. Obviously, she was disappointed, but not devastated. So, I suggested that she file a police report, and agreed that’s what she should do.

Are we as secure as we think we are? If not, why so? And what should we do? Do we know if our decisions are made based on what we consider to be facts or based on myths?

Should we be held to the rights of the individual citizen or to the justice system? In one case I know of, individual rights are likely to be undermined?

Derek Williams is a Street Sheet vendor.