Shocking footage has emerged of a Big Issue vendor being placed into a ‘chokehold’ and slammed to the ground by a Marks & Spencer security guard in central London.
The video, recorded by a member of the public outside M&S in Covent Garden, shows the security guard pin the Big Issue seller’s arms behind his back and attempt to drag him into the store in front of dozens of onlookers.
He tells the vendor to “stop resisting” before wrapping his arms around his neck and placing him into a chokehold. He then throws him to the ground. The vendor can be heard pleading “get off me, I’m sorry”.
An M&S staff member then moves to block the camera before trying to help drag the man back into the store as the security guard shouts “get him inside”. However, the vendor is allowed to return to his feet when the incident attracted a crowd, before he is told to “go away, don’t come back”.
Nothing justifies this behaviour – it is completely unacceptable and is not tolerated at M&S
It is not known what caused the incident.
M&S condemned the behaviour as “completely unacceptable”, stated it had launched an “immediate investigation”, and confirmed that the both security guard and staff member featured in the footage are no longer employed by the organisation.
An M&S spokesperson said: “We’re very disappointed to see this footage. Nothing justifies this behaviour – it is completely unacceptable and is not tolerated at M&S.
“This incident took place over a year ago but was not reported to us at time. Nonetheless, we’ve launched an immediate investigation into the incident. Neither the Security Guard or M&S staff member work for us now and we are taking appropriate actions to ensure that this behaviour doesn’t happen again.”
We are appalled by this shocking and apparently unprovoked attack on a vulnerable person
A Big Issue spokesperson said: “We are appalled by this shocking and apparently unprovoked attack on a vulnerable person.
“Big Issue sellers face all manner of hardship on the streets and are frequently subject to abuse, but we would hope that the premises of a major retailer would represent a safe environment. As an organisation we’ve enjoyed a good relationship with Marks & Spencer over the years, so we sincerely hope this an isolated incident which will be treated with the seriousness it deserves.”