A Suffolk County grand jury yesterday indicted a security guard at the Downtown Crossing Primark store - and the security company he worked for - on charges of assault and battery on a child under 14 and for violating the victim's civil rights for an incident on June 9 in which he allegedly attacked a girl who tried shoplifting.
According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, Mohammad Khan, 36, of Cambridge, grabbed an 11-year-old girl after she tried to walk out of the store with about $175 worth of clothing, pulled her back into the store and pushed her into a corner out of the range of store surveillance cameras and began to beat her - and kept beating her even as fellow security guards from Securitas Security Services and shoppers tried to get him to stop:
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 customer, including suspected shoplifters. In addition, his Securitas co-workers and passersby urged him to stop.
The DA's office says that Khan, a special police officer, which means he has arrest powers, had been reprimanded at least four times previously for "using more force than permitted by Securitas and for violating protocol."
Under state law, the girl was too young to be charged with shoplifting.
This is at least the second recent alleged crime for which a corporation faces criminal charges, the DA's office reports, pointing to the recent conviction of a Roslindale drain company for the drowning deaths of two workers in a South End trench:
Under state law, to prove corporate liability the Commonwealth must show that an individual committed a criminal offense, that the individual who committed the offense was involved in a corporate business, and that the individual was vested with authority to act for the corporation with respect to that business. District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ Office believes those thresholds have been met and exceeded in this instance.
Arraignment for the alleged attack has been set for Dec. 17.