Store owner who choked suspected shoplifter: I was crazy

Posted March 13

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— 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.


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  • Marianne Ashworth Mar 14, 11:26 a.m.
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    He was detaining a possible shoplifter. I can understand his frustration with being stolen from, but he shouldn't have kicked or choked her. There are safer ways to detain someone. They were both wrong.

  • Travis Perry Mar 14, 9:25 a.m.
    user avatar

    What a society....the victim is vilified and the criminal is the victim. Just sad.

  • George Orwell Mar 14, 7:16 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Problem is the cops will not get there prior to the thief leaving. The only time a shop lifter gets caught is if there is a security guard on duty and will detain the thief till the police arrive. Ans even they, it's questionable if the local DA will press any real charges.

    You cannot even put in facial recognition camera and software at the door to deny entry/access to a known shoplifter without the ACLU suing the shop keeper. They don't have to prove anything in court because the cost of defending against the suit is prohibited based on the size of the crime.

    Yes, this shop owner handled it wrong but I can understand his frustration.

  • Herman Shaw Mar 13, 8:41 p.m.
    user avatar

    But, the police would ask you what are there names and address. You have to hand the person's names and address or they just write a report and go home. I have never been reimbursed for crimes against me. Even when I got them arrested, I just wasted time going to court. I went to court one time and they were already sent off. Where was the person taking the video during the crime? Looks like a setup to me.

  • Marvin Sanderford Mar 13, 5:15 p.m.
    user avatar

    Whether the person shoplifted or not, you call the cops and let them handle it. It is not your job to handle it yourself.