A Suffolk County grand jury Tuesday indicted a security guard for allegedly assaulting an 11-year-old girl who allegedly shoplifted at a Primark store in Boston in June, tossing her to the ground and pummeling the child, prosecutors said.
In a statement, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins’s office confirmed the indictments handed up against Mohammad Khan, 36, of Cambridge and his employer at the time of the alleged assault, Securitas Services USA Inc., which is based in New Jersey.
No lawyer was listed for Khan in court papers, and a telephone number listed for his home address wasn’t in service Wednesday. Securitas didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prosecutors say the alleged assault occurred on June 9 at the Primark location at 10 Summer St., after the girl allegedly admitted to taking clothing from the store valued at approximately $175.
Khan, who’d been reprimanded on at least four prior occasions for using more force than allowed by Securitas and for violating protocol, allegedly grabbed the girl, pulled her back into the store, and pushed her into a corner, obstructing the view of a security camera, the statement said.
For more than seven minutes, the 6-foot-1-inch, 225-pound Khan allegedly grabbed the girl by her head and neck, threw her to the ground, and punched her in the face while straddling her, according to the statement.
Khan allegedly continued struggling with the child after Boston police separated the two, prosecutors said. The alleged attack occurred despite clear orders to refrain from touching customers, including suspected shoplifters, the release said.
Prosecutors also identified Khan as a special police officer; such officers are part-time officers who serve communities on an all-call basis.
“The Boston Police were exemplary in de-escalating the situation when they arrived, and the other Securitas employees in the store behaved appropriately during the encounter,’’ Rollins said in the statement. “Being a Special Police Officer allows someone the power of arrest, but with that power comes great responsibility. I applaud the vast majority of Boston Police officers and SPOs who behave professionally and with restraint.’’
State law prohibits authorities from charging the girl with shoplifting because of her age, prosecutors said.
Her current condition wasn’t immediately available.
A spokesman for Rollins said authorities couldn’t comment beyond the statement Wednesday because the alleged victim is a juvenile, though more information will be released at Khan’s arraignment, slated for Dec. 17.
Khan and Securitas are charged with one count each of assault and battery on a child under 14 and civil rights violations, prosecutors said. Securitas is also slated to be arraigned on Dec. 17.
“Under state law, to prove corporate liability the Commonwealth must show that an individual committed a criminal offense, that the individual who committed the offense was involved in a corporate business, and that the individual was vested with authority to act for the corporation with respect to that business,” the statement said.
Prosecutors said Rollins’s office “believes those thresholds have been met and exceeded in this instance.”
A Primark spokesperson said Wednesday via e-mail that the company is “aware of indictments in the USA relating to an incident involving a third party security contractor at our Boston store in June 2019. As this is an ongoing criminal matter, it is not appropriate for us to comment.”
Primark is not facing any charges in connection with the incident.