CROWN HEIGHTS, BROOKLYN — A viral video shows a tense confrontation between a Crown Heights grocery stores’ staff and shoppers outraged by one of them pinning a black man accused of shoplifting on the ground.
Protesters took to the streets in Crown Heights after video surfaced of a man accused of shoplifting being held down by staff at Met Foodmarkets on Nostrand Avenue.
The man in the video being held down is identified as 47-year-old Jason Rayford.
“They immediately put him into a chokehold while others pinned his body down,” says an eyewitness.
Police say Rayford is accused of stealing $154 worth of grocery items and was arrested and charged with petty larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.
Sources tried reached out to the store for comment but to no avail. Instead, it issued a statement on Instagram, highlighting its status as a family-owned local grocery tied into the local community.
The statement posted on the Met Foodmarket’s Instagram page said in part that the incident involved a repeated shoplifter, and that when they tried to stop him, he became “aggressive and assaulted our staff.”