A young Edmonton woman alleges she was assaulted by security guards at West Edmonton Mall last year in a case in which she was initially charged with assault with a weapon — her jacket.
Larissa Sharphead, 20, was taken to a holding cell by guards on Oct. 25, 2010, after she and her sister had too much to drink at the Empire Ballroom, a nightclub inside the massive shopping centre.
Sharphead, who was under a 10-year ban from mall premises, was picked up by the guards just outside the Bourbon Street entrance. Surveillance video of what transpired inside the cell afterwards was obtained by CBC News.
The video shows a male guard pushing Sharphead against a cement wall. He kicks her feet from underneath her and she falls to the floor, and then he folds Sharphead's legs up behind her and sits on them.
The guard subsequently performs an extensive patdown while another male guard holds her down.
'It was outrageous'
"It was outrageous, on many levels," Sharphead's lawyer, Akram Attia, told CBC News last week. "I was troubled by the force used. She was clearly not resisting."
Sharphead is seen talking to two guards on the soundless tape as she removes her jacket. As one guard holds out his arm to grab it, she swings the coat towards him, prompting him to push her down again.
"I was sore," Sharphead told the CBC. "My face was sore and it's all bruised. My lip was cut."
Although Sharphead was injured in the altercation, she was charged with assault with a weapon, with her jacket considered the weapon.
The charge was dismissed after the surveillance video was entered as an exhibit in court earlier this month.
Sharphead says she was kicked out of the mall when she was 12. West Edmonton Mall says that ban was why she was arrested and charged for trespassing that night.
"Our goal is to protect the safety and experience of our mall guests and to ensure those who have caused problems in the past are not allowed on our property," the statement says.
"West Edmonton Mall expects our entire staff to act with the utmost integrity and professionalism, making safety our No. 1 priority."
Sharphead hopes police will take action against the security guards. However, Edmonton police say the file is closed .
Two officers have viewed the video and neither recommended an investigation, said spokesperson David Schneider.
"That would indicate to me that there are no plans to revisit the file," he said.