Thunder Bay

Security guard's 'use of force' on youth at Thunder Bay Shoppers store was 'unacceptable' Loblaws says

The parent company of Shoppers Drug Mart says the "use of force" by a security guard in one of its locations in Thunder Bay, Ont., Sunday evening is "absolutely unacceptable," as city police say they've launched an investigation into "all aspects" of the incident.

Thunder Bay police say they're investigating all aspects of Sunday evening incident

Thunder Bay police say they're investigating an incident at the Shoppers Drug Mart in the McIntyre Centre on Sunday. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

The parent company of Shoppers Drug Mart says the "use of force" by a security guard in one of its locations in Thunder Bay, Ont., Sunday evening is "absolutely unacceptable," as city police say they've launched an investigation into "all aspects" of the incident.

CBC News has confirmed that the incident in the video, shot by a customer in the McIntyre Centre Shoppers location on Memorial Avenue and posted online, took place after 6 p.m. on Feb. 3. 

CBC News has viewed the video and verified its authenticity but has not obtained the digital file.

The video focuses on a store security guard and another person, who Thunder Bay police confirmed is a youth. The guard appears to attempt to use handcuffs to restrain the youth's arms behind his back while they're both on the ground.  After they stand up and start walking, with the guard behind the youth — who is not secured in the cuffs — the guard appears to lift him up while restraining his arms, then slamming him hard to the ground.

"This is an absolutely unacceptable incident and we are deeply concerned by what happened," Loblaw Companies Limited spokesperson Catherine Thomas said in a emailed statement to CBC News.

"Shoppers Drug Mart has a no-touch policy, which means pharmacy owners, their store employees and their security partners are not allowed to physically engage with anyone in our stores," Thomas's statement continued.

"This use of force and handcuffs is a clear violation of that policy."

City police said they couldn't provide further details about the people in the video on Monday, but confirmed they received a call for service for a reported theft at the McIntyre Centre Shoppers location at 6:28 p.m. on Feb. 3, and subsequently launched an investigation into what happened.

A police spokesperson said he could not speak to whether any charges had yet been laid as of Monday, but said the force is looking into the entire incident.

Loblaw Companies Limited, which is the parent company of Shoppers, confirmed that security at its locations is provided by third parties. It did not respond to CBC News's question asking which company is contracted to the McIntyre Centre Shoppers location.

Thomas's statement said that Loblaws has "been in contact with the third-party security provider and have recommended disciplinary action — including restricting the security guard from working at any of our stores."

"We sincerely apologize to the family for what happened. It does not reflect our company's values or customers' expectations," her statement concluded.