A man who was bitten and stripped to his underwear by the employees of a Brooklyn 7-11 is suing the store for the emotional and physical distress he says he endured after a cell phone video of the bizarre incident went viral on the internet.
On Oct. 20 of last year, at a 7-11 at 395 Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, employees accused 29-year-old David Golson of shoplifting an item, to wit, one Snickers brand candy bar.
Golson said that he didn’t steal anything and attempted to walk out of the store. That’s when the 7-11 employees attacked. What happened next is all right there on the video, which can be seen below. A still frame from the video is at right.
Golson protests, and though he tries to wriggle free, he never fights back. Meanwhile, the 7-11 employees manhandle him, ripping off his clothes, hitting and biting him.
The lawsuit calls the attack a "violent, unprovoked and widely publicized assault...completely disproportionate to what they were accusing him of: stealing a candy bar."
The whole thing took place in front of onlookers who filmed the altercation, as well as the store’s surveillance camera.
As happens rather predictably in this era, the cell phone video went up on YouTube and was quickly picked up by numerous online news outlets, including ABC News, The Huffington Post, the New York Post and the New York Daily News. Those are the outlets listed in the lawsuit at least.
The lawsuit, which can be read online here, says that in addition to suffering “bruising, bite marks and...physical pain,” Golson also endured “serious and permanent injuries...pain, shock and mental anguish...These injuries and their effects will be permanent.”
The lawsuit demands a jury trial and unspecified damages “in a sum exceeding the jurisdiction limits of all lower courts.”
Within days of the video hitting the internet, police arrested Golson on charges of “robbery, assault, criminal mischief and criminal possession of stolen property.” But there has been no report yet on the status of that case, or whether it is connected to the 7-11 incident or is a separate case involving Golson.
The charges against Golson are not mentioned in the lawsuit.
According to a report in the New York Daily News, one of the employees who attacked Golson was fired. The other two were made to take further training in safety and security procedures.
Several New York and Virginia 7-Elevens were raided Monday after federal investigators discovered the franchises were harboring undocumented workers, furnishing them with stolen identities and forcing them to work 100 hours a week.
"These defendants ruthlessly exploited their immigrant employees, stealing their wages and requiring them to live in unregulated boarding houses, in effect creating a modern day plantation system," said Loretta Lynch, a federal prosecutor.
Agents led the nationwide sweep after an employee at the Suffolk County 7-Eleven tipped off police.
A total of 18 undocumented Pakistani immigrants were forced to live in boarding houses and pay rent to their employers. Many of the store owners and managers were arrested and now face charges of wire fraud, identity theft and harboring illegal immigrants.
The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security are expected to investigate 40 other 7-Eleven stores in seven other states in what is one of the largest criminal immigrant employment investigations ever led by the department.
"The 7-Eleven franchises seized today will be better known for their big fraud than their Big Gulp," said James Hayes, head of the New York Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Investigation.
Margaret Chabris, director of Corporate Communications for 7-Eleven, said the company is aware of the federal action and will cooperate with authorities, though she declined to comment further.