ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Demonstrators gathered Monday night outside the Orange Park Mall demanding answers after a video appears to show security officers restrain a young man to the ground.
Video of the incident was taken by a concerned parent and shared with News4Jax.
“I can understand them being rowdy in the mall or whatever, but that right there is uncalled for,” said Natisha Meyer, who says her son was on the ground.
Meyer said her son and his friends were in the mall, making a YouTube video, when security approached them.
“They asked them to leave. They were leaving. A few of the boys said something that one of the security officers didn’t like and they grabbed them,” Meyer said.
She said that her son was taken into a room, where he was guarded by a Clay County sheriff’s deputy.
“When I first saw the video, I didn’t know what to feel,” Meyer said. “I was angry, sad, hurt and mad.”
A statement from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office reads:
“We are looking into this event and we take all complaints seriously. This information will be thoroughly examined.”
Linda Meyer, her son’s grandmother, spoke with a local Black Lives Matter chapter, who joined the demonstration at the mall Monday night.
“Justice needs to be served. These children are out here trying to do something that is clean, not dirty. Nothing illegal. They get treated like they were criminals and they didn’t do anything wrong,” Linda Meyer said.
Meyer said her son was taken to a juvenile center, released the same night and charged with battery to a uniform officer.
The Orange Park Mall told News4Jax that the safety of their guests, retailers and employees is its top priority. It requested any questions to be made to the Sheriff’s Office.
According to the Sheriff’s Office report, which News4Jax obtained Tuesday, a juvenile was the initial focus of security officers and an off-duty deputy working mall security when he refused to leave the mall after being asked to. After security officers placed the juvenile into custody while he resisted, according to the report, a group of four other males approached the off-duty deputy.
The report states a 15-year-old boy moved toward the off-duty deputy in an “aggressive manner.” A security guard stepped between the two and that security guard was punched in the face, put into a headlock and taken to the ground by the 15-year-old, according to the report. The second security guard jumped in and separated the struggle, the report shows.
The report said the 15-year-old was restrained and taken into Department of Juvenile Justice custody.
The other juvenile was given a citation for resisting an officer without violence, the report shows.
The security who was punched, put into a headlock and taken to the ground sustained a small cut on his right elbow, the report states.