A video (below) of an altercation between an Asian store manager and an African-American woman accused of shoplifting has gone viral, leading to protests and threats of a boycott.
The two-minute cellphone video was taken in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 9 when Sung Ho Lim, the manager of Missha Beauty, and his wife, blocked the exit and fought with with an unidentified black woman in a pink hoodie. The two claim to have proof the woman had been trying to shoplift, and in the video accused her of such, WSOC reports.
The encounter escalated, as Lim and his wife knocked the young woman down as she was trying to leave the store. The husband proceeded to hold her in a chokehold for more than 30 seconds. On the video, the woman struggles to breathe as Lim tightens his grip. His wife and bystanders insist he "loosen up" and "let her go a little bit."
Bystanders try to calm down the struggling woman in the hold, encouraging her to lie down and not move.
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The woman insists she hasn't taken anything, and claims Lim had already checked her purse.
Once Lim let her go, the woman left the store and drove off before police arrived.
Since the encounter, Lim has sent video from the store's surveillance camera to the police, which he says proves the attempted theft. The video also reportedly shows the interaction between Lim, his wife and the woman.
The Charlotte Observer concludes that multiple Missha employees say the video will confirm the woman had paid for one item, but had a number of unpaid items in her purse, such as eyelashes, lip gloss and jewelry, which fell out during the brawl.
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While The Charlotte Observer and other news sites reported Lim was fired from Missha, WLS reported on March 15 that while the manager had offered his resignation, it has not been accepted by the owner of the beauty store franchise owner, who is located in Chicago.
Investigators have confirmed that Lim has not been charged with any crime, leaving leaders and members of the NAACP furious, reports WSOC.
"He took it upon himself to treat her in ways that no woman should be treated, in fact no person should be treated," said Corine Mack, NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg Chapter.
Lim has publicly apologized to protesters for his reaction and states he plans to apologize to the woman once she is found.
"I was crazy. No matter what the reason, I feel very sorry to her," he said.
Protesters in Charlotte and Chicago have called for a boycott of the chain of beauty stores.
"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," Mack said after insisting Lim apologize to the African-American community in Charlotte, KFVS reported.
Multiple Missha employees who have worked with Lim for years have spoken out against the racist claims.
Shelly Young, 21, said the store has several African-American employees, and that the workplace is both diverse and welcoming.
Another employee, who wanted to be identified only as Drew, said the store had to disconnect its phone since the incident, as multiple anti-immigrant threats have been made.
Drew said a caller had shouted into the phone, "'Y’all need to go the f*** back where you’re from.' I said ‘I’m from Charlotte. I went to North Meck [high school]. I’ve lived here since I was 7.'”
Onlooker, Nancy Wilson, who has since refused to comment but has confirmed she has no connection to the woman involved, took the viral cellphone video.