A distressed man being dragged around the David Jones store in Bondi Junction has upset some shoppers who witnessed the incident. A lawyer has filmed the disturbing scene, saying it was the high-end department store’s security guards appeared to manhandle the hapless man.
In the three-minute footage, a man is seen being hauled through the store by two security guards, one dressed in plain clothes, while the other in a black suit. The man, who was wearing skinny jeans, shirt, thongs and a cap, has been begging for them to release him as they were hurting him. However, the two kept on dragging him.
The staff in grey hoodie claimed that he was not putting any pressure on the man, who insisted that they were gripping his wrists.
Lawyer Chris Murphy has filmed the incident around 2 pm on Saturday, describing the force used by the security guards as “excessive and frightening.”
He told the Daily Mail Australia that the “skinny looking guy” being manhandled by the store’s security looked like a scene from a “concentration camp.”
“It was screamingly said – and I do this for a living,” he said.
“He’s a vulnerable and powerless person under the brute force of corporate Australia. Those heavy grasps at the wrists – it was like a violent bully dragging him.”
The man was suspected of shoplifting, and was approached by the staff. They tried to confront him quietly, but the man shouted loudly, as if deliberately trying to call on the attention of the other shoppers.
“You’re hurting me. Tell him to let go of me,” the man shouted.
“Sshhh...” one of the two security guards can be heard in the video, trying to hush the suspected shoplifter. “I’m not putting pressure on you.”
When the staff in hoodie asked him if he has stolen anything, the man became defensive, telling them, “Don’t touch me!”
The two then pulled him to come with them, but the man sat down on the floor to stop them.
“Somebody help me. They’re hurting me,” he pleaded to the shoppers.
The man was then taken to a restricted to shoppers area, where more security guards presumably talked to him.
According to an NSW police spokesperson, the 39-year-old man, a Bondi local, has been “banned from entering all David Jones stores for 12 months.”
“He was issued a criminal infringement notice for shoplifting,” the police said.
A store rep added that the man was identified as a shoplifter and was apprehended while the police were called.
Murphy, a lawyer for 42 years, said that he offered to represent the accused shoplifter pro-bono, saying he was horrified by the incident.
“We have a lot of fragile and borderline people who shouldn’t be mistreated. This was a full abuse of power.”
Meanwhile, the department store chain is taking a step closer to being foreign-owned.
On Monday, the company’s shareholders have approved the $2 billion takeover plan by Woolworths Holdings Ltd of South Africa. Only 3.19 per cent of the votes cast were against the move.
Melbourne-based billionaire Solomon Lew, who had threatened to block the deal with his 53.6 million shares, abstained from voting, which sent his votes automatically in favour of the deal.
The acquisition is yet to be approved or denied until a Federal court hearing on Thursday.
Chairman Gordon Cairns told the shareholders that David Jones under Woolworths would be better able to compete in the online market while helping Woolworths become a major global player at the same time.