A JCPenney employee was filmed putting a black girl in a headlock at the University Park Mall in South Bend, Indiana, on Dec. 29 (video below).
The girl's family told WNDU that the employee instructed them to leave the store and said they did not belong there.
The girl knocked over a promotional display while leaving, when the employee reportedly placed her in a headlock.
In the video, bystanders can be heard yelling at the employee to let the girl go from what could have turned into a choke hold; the girl's shirt is seen riding up her body, revealing her bra.
The girl's family tells the employee that she has money to pay for the display, but the employee keeps his grip around the female's neck.
The employee tells the bystanders that he will release the girl if they back off, but he did not let her go. A second employee assists in holding the girl. The second employee accuses the girl of kicking her, which does not appear to happen in the video.
Mall security guards showed up, handcuffed the girl, took her to another part of the mall, and eventually freed her without pressing charges.
The mall, store, and JCPenney employee all refused to speak to WNDU.
The girl's family did not want to go on camera, but told the news station that they are going to meet with a lawyer.
The JCPenney Facebook page was pounded with negative comments:
Address the situation with one of your employees assaulting a customer after she and her family were harassed. You wont be getting any of my cash until that sorry excuse of a man is terminated.
Have you seen the video of your staff assaulting the young woman? Please respond?
I will never buy JCPenney or Sephora again!!!!!!!! I am absolutely disgusted by the people that you employee to work in your stores to discriminate & then place someone in a chockhold??? WHY HAVE YOU NOT ADDRRSSED THE VIDEO? Hasn't your unpopular company been enough trouble lately. I will stick with Belk's & Macy's.
The store posted various versions of the same reply:
Thank you for your concern. We take the safety of our customers very seriously, and we are working with local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.