Store owner who choked suspected shoplifter: I was crazy
Posted March 13
Charlotte, N.C. — Protesters and civil rights activists are calling for a boycott of a Charlotte beauty supply store after the owner was caught on cellphone video kicking and choking an African-American woman.
Store owner Sung Ho Lim said there is more to the story.
"Check my bag, I'm telling you I don't have anything," the customer can be heard saying as Lim's concern over a possible shoplifter quickly escalated into a physical altercation.
Lim is visible in the video kicking the woman, then taking her to the ground and putting her in a choke hold.
On Sunday, community leaders and customers held a protest, calling for a boycott of the store.
Corine Mack, of the NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg chapter, said, "He took it upon himself to treat her in ways that no woman should be treated, in fact no person should be treated."
Customer Teresa Mosely said she'd never set foot in the store again.
Lim talked with protesters, apologizing to them. "It's all my fault," he said.
But protesters say the apology may not be enough.
"It reminds me of any historical attack on black people," Mack said.
Lim says this had nothing to do with race. He said the footage being circulated on social media fails to show the customer stealing from his store.
Lim filed a police report claiming the woman stole false eyelashes, but no charges have been filed.
Anthony Martinez, who works in a store nearby, says Lim's attack is not how you handle a shoplifter. "When I think they may be stealing, I mean, as far as stores, most of them have cameras in them," Martinez said.
Lim admits he went too far. "I was crazy. No matter what the reason, I feel very sorry to her," he said.
Lim said he'd provide his store's security footage showing the alleged theft to police. He also says he plans to apologize to the woman.