Video showing store employees pull gun, sword on suspected shoplifter fuels racial tension
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - The National Action Network was demonstrating at Andrews Market in North Charleston Monday in response to a video that surfaced on social media showing an altercation between employees of the store and a man accused of shoplifting.
In the video, guns and swords could be seen drawn and used to keep control of the man identified as 38-year-old Tyrone Mazyck. An incident report provided by the North Charleston Police Department confirms the authenticity of the video. (Warning: The video contains adult language throughout.)
The caption on the video shot by a man identifying himself as Shakem Amen Akhet suggests the store employees "tortured" Mazyck and "held him hostage with a gun."
"These Arabs steal from the black community everyday [sic] and take our money," the caption reads. "Operation Shut Down begins immediately. This is totally unacceptable. Who is with me to run the foreigners out of the hood at [sic] start buying black?"
According to the report, Mazyck was sitting on the floor of the store when police arrived on March 29. He had a gash on his head. The report states Mazyck told officers his back was injured. The report states he told officers he was trying to shoplift and there was a pocket knife in his bag.
Officers investigating the incident said Mazyck was taken to a local hospital for treatment. According to the report, Mazyck threatened responding officers as well as clerks at the store.
Photos and video posted on social media showed the demonstration Monday got heated at times. Post and Courier reporter Angie Jackson was recording video inside the store until someone grabbed her phone.
The National Action Network is demanding the closure of the convenience store after what the organization describes as a "racial incident."
Elder James Johnson of NAN said the organization is seeking kidnapping and assault and battery charges against store employees involved in the incident.
"They beat him with a stick in the store, like Sharia law," Elder Johnson said of the video.
The owner of Andrew's Market attempted to speak to those demonstrating Monday. He said the video on social media only shows part of the incident. He argues it does not show Mazyck stealing and cutting a store employee with a knife.
Andrew's Market has found itself involved in at least two other incidents of violence in recent months. On New Years Day a man was found shot dead in front of the store. In December 2016, a man shot in the legs ran to the store for help, police say.