The Suffolk County District Attorney's office reported a deal today to drop criminal charges against Securitas for the way a beefy guard allegedly beat an 11-year-old girl he accused of shoplifting at the Downtown Crossing Primark in 2019, in exchange for "sweeping changes" in the way the company trains its guards and special police officers - and keeps track of any improper behavior.
The deal does not involve the criminal charges against the guard, Mohammed Khan, who still faces a potential trial on charges of assault and battery and violating the girl's civil rights for the incident. A Suffolk County grand jury had initially indicted both Khan and his employer for the charges.
The agreement is unconnected to the agreement Securitas reached with the girl and her mother, to settle the lawsuit they filed last year. The company agreed to settle the Suffolk Superior Court suit in December for an amount that was redacted in court filings.
The DA's office said it will monitor Securitas across its scores of Massachusetts client locations for two years and will restore the criminal charges in the event of any violations. An outside auditor will also monitor the company, which agreed to create a database, accessible only to company management of "all videos and written records of arrests or use of force complaints."
The changes in training will include de-escalation of high-risk situations, management of aggressive behavior, unconscious bias, and handling and processing of juvenile offenders. Revisions to the training program will incorporate principles in limits of authority and use of force.
Both the company and the guard were charged with assault and battery on a child under 14 and a violation of her civil rights following the 2019 incident, in which Khan spotted the girl trying to walk out with roughly $175 of merchandise:
On June 9, 2019 he grabbed the 11-year-old girl, pulled her back into the store, and pushed her into a corner obstructing the view of the CCTV security camera. Over the course of more than seven minutes, Khan, who is 6’ 1’’ and 225 pounds, grabbed the girl by the head and neck and threw her to the ground, punched her in the face while straddling her as she was on the ground, and even after being separated from her by Boston Police, re-engaged in struggling with her. All of this was done even though Khan was under explicit orders not to touch any customers, including suspected shoplifters. In addition, his Securitas co-workers and passersby urged him to stop.
Securitas had previously reprimanded Khan four times for excessive use of force, according to the DA's office.
Khan faces his next court appearance on June 9.