A cellphone video that shows an African-American woman being wrestled to the ground by a hair supply store owner, who is Asian, has prompted protests against the store and talk of a boycott.
WBTV reports the incident took place Thursday at the Missha Beauty store on Charlotte, N.C.’s west side. It which began when the owner, Sung Ho Lim accused the unidentified woman of stealing a package of eyelashes. In the video she denies taking anything and exclaims “check my bag.” At that point Lim shoves the woman, then kicks her and with the help of another woman, presumably a worker in the store, attempts to restrain her, pulling her down to the floor, placing her in a chokehold.
He confirmed to the station that it is him in the video, but says it does not capture the woman allegedly stealing any items. Lim said that he would be giving the security camera video to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and that he tried to restrain her until police arrived. No charges have been filed or arrests made as of Monday.
Demonstrators came to the store on Sunday to protest, saying the way Lim handled the situation was unwarranted. The NAACP released a raw cellphone video of the incident. The security cam video was not immediately available.
Calls and e-mails to the Charlotte NAACP branch for comment were not immediately returned, but Min. Corine Mack, president of the Charlotte branch of the NAACP told WBTV that the store owner “took it upon himself to treat her in a way that no woman should be treated. In fact, no person should be treated.”
“You cannot take police matters in your own hands. You can’t act like the police,” said civil rights activist John C. Barnett. “Whatever the case may be, we know he cannot be keeping someone in a choke hold, stealing or not.”
During the demonstration, Lim reportedly met with the group and apologized. “I don’t know, it just happened. I went crazy,” Lim said. “No matter what the reason, I feel very sorry to her and to them.” He said that he planned on apologizing to the woman on Monday.
But Mack said Lim should apologize to Charlotte’s Black community as well.
“Guess what, we are the ones who go to his store on a regular basis, and allow his family to live a good quality of life,” said Mack.