A viral video showing a White JCPenney employee putting an unidentified Black girl a headlock sparked controversy on Wednesday.
Indiana affiliate WNDU reports the girl was shopping with her family on December 30 at University Park Mall outside of South Bend, Indiana, when the unnamed employee in the video reportedly told the group they did not belong there, and asked them to leave.
While exiting, the girl allegedly knocked over a display and the employee placed her in a headlock – causing her stomach and bra to be exposed.
In the video, family and store witnesses can be heard yelling for the man to release the girl.
“She can pay!” a family member yells, but the employee continued to restrain the young woman.
Mall security appears and can be seen escorting the girl away in handcuffs. According to WNDU, the girl was released to her father’s custody.
WNDU reached out to the mall, JCPenney, and the employee, but received no comment. WNDU reporter Travis Robinson said he was able to reach the family, but they declined to appear on camera before speaking to a lawyer.
Robinson says the girl told him off camera that if she was released from the chokehold, she would have been willing to “stay put and talk.”