Portage Place guard berated First Nations elder, says family
'I don't care if she has a heart attack,' mall guard allegedly told Annie Henry's family
An elderly woman from a Manitoba First Nation wants an apology from Portage Place Shopping Centre, after she and members of her family were allegedly yelled at by security staff and kicked out of the mall over the weekend.
Family members of Annie Henry, a 79-year-old from the Roseau River First Nation, plan to hold a flash mob at the downtown Winnipeg shopping mall on Wednesday to protest what they say is poor treatment by security guards.
Henry, who has a pacemaker and is diabetic, was shopping with family at the mall on Saturday when she had to rest because she was short of breath, according to her daughter, Karen Henry-Jimmy.
Henry-Jimmy said she and her mother sat down on some marble planters — even though there are signs asking patrons not to sit on them — and they were yelled at by a security guard.
While they knew they weren't supposed to sit on the planters, Henry-Jimmy said she argued that her mother was not well enough to move.
"He said, 'You are officially kicked out of the mall,' and I said, 'For what?'" Henry-Jimmy told CBC News on Tuesday.
"What did I do? All I did was I picked up for my mother," she added, her voice cracking.
What made the matter worse was the parting words the security guard had for the family, according to Henry-Jimmy.
"We grabbed our mother and we started walking out the building," she said.
"Then he says, 'I don't care if she has a heart attack,' and then my little sister turned around and said, 'Are you serious?'"
Henry said she is very upset at the way the mall guards treated her daughter.
"When she took up for me, and they picked on her quite a bit for that because she stood up for me," the elder said.
"That's what I didn't like, and I was really hurt to see her get hurt."
Officials with Portage Place refused to comment on Tuesday.
Roseau River Chief Ken Henry Jr., who is the elder's grandson, said he filed a formal complaint with mall management.
Officials did not appear to take the incident seriously until media inquiries started coming in, the chief added.
"I did get a call back from that same manager, who is now concerned," Henry said.
Annie Henry and her family are inviting those who want to attend Wednesday's flash mob to bring their grandparents with them. The event starts at noon.