The Daily Aztec

Video of library security holding woman in ‘chokehold’ gains thousands of views

Video used with permission of Krystal Nzeadibe

by Jasmine Bermudez, Assistant News Editor

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A physical altercation with a security guard in the Malcolm A. Love Library on Feb. 27 ended with a woman being put into what some students said was a chokehold.

According to a statement from San Diego State spokesperson Cory Marshall, the woman was in an unauthorized area when she slapped a guard’s phone and struck his face with an open palm.

Raquel Herriott, a university police spokesperson, said the woman, Chanell Williams, is not an SDSU student.

Marshall said the security guard then attempted to restrain the woman until police arrived.

Finance senior Krystal Nzeadibe said she is skeptical of Marshall’s statement because it is unclear what happened before the incident.

“I think it’s interesting for us to know (about) the situation as a whole, not just starting at certain points,” she said. “That makes me very skeptical of how our university is telling the story.”

Management information systems sophomore Adrian Garate works at the 24/7 Study Area in the library.

He said he and the security guard frequently complain to each other about Williams because she loiters there often.

“(Williams) went there Monday night and tried to do the same thing which is grab clothes from the lost and found,” Garate said. “(The) security guard told her she had to go because the library was closing down.”

Garate also said he spoke to the security guard after the incident and he said Williams came back and said she forgot something in the lost and found.  

“(He said) she he snatched the phone from his hand when he said he was going to call the police,” Garate said. “She took the phone from him and when he tried to grab it back, she got physical.”

Garate said the security guard is not working in the library anymore.

“He actually got moved because of the bad publicity,” he said. “He was working at the library full-time for eight years.”

Herriott said details regarding the incident are still being reviewed by the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, which handles charges for suspected misdemeanors that take place within city limits.

Marshall said the woman was cited for battery and issued an order to stay off campus for seven days.

Nzeadibe said she was sitting in the library when she heard screams.

“The security guard had this black woman in a chokehold and there were two other security guards that were standing in front of (the security guard) and were telling the lady to not move,” she said.

Nzeadibe recorded the security guard restraining the woman and posted it on Facebook. The video received more than 5,000 views and 40 shares.

“I wanted our community and the rest of the world to see that a lot of issues regarding police brutality can happen in spaces where we don’t typically see them,” Nzeadibe said. “So when I first saw what was going on I immediately had to share because this is obviously an issue with race, classism and gender combined into one.”

She said the amount of force that was used on the woman was unjustifiable.

“We need to look at the bigger picture and look at the system of white supremacy and classism and how we need to critique the system that put her in that situation in the first place,” Nzeadibe said.  

Business management sophomore Adrian Alvarado said he wasn’t at the library when the incident occured, but he watched Nzeadibe’s video and said he doesn’t think the security guard was wrong.

“Given the circumstances that it happened in where she struck the security guard first, I would say that was a necessary amount of force just to restrain her until the police got there to prevent her from going away,” he said.

Alvarado said he used to work in the library and knows the security guard takes his job seriously.

“It’s not about politics at all. It is about the facts,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to be racially motivated.”

Herriott said officers completed the investigation and cited the woman based on interviews and evidence. She also said she can’t speak to whether the incident was racially motivated, and because the security guard is contracted with Elite Services, an event staff and security company, she can’t confirm whether the proper protocols were followed.

Correction 8:04 p.m.  March 8: An earlier version of this story misspelled Chanell’s last name as Channell. The Daily Aztec regrets the error.

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4 Comments

4 Responses to “Video of library security holding woman in ‘chokehold’ gains thousands of views”

  1. Frank Davis on March 8th, 2018 6:21 am

    So a woman who didn’t see what happened before the “choke hold” which was more likely a very humane carotid restraint thinks it is brutality. Then the university knee jerks in pc fashion and moves the guard. Ridiculous. If someone slaps me in the face and grabs my phone, they are going down, woman or not.

  2. SmarterChimp on March 8th, 2018 7:58 am

    Finance senior Krystal Nzeadibe said she is skeptical of Marshall’s statement because it is unclear what happened before the incident. “I think it’s interesting for us to know (about) the situation as a whole, not just starting at certain points,” she said.

    If it’s unclear and you didn’t see what happened and you admit you don’t know ‘the situation as a whole’…how can you go on record making this next statement?

    “I wanted our community and the rest of the world to see that a lot of issues regarding police brutality can happen in spaces where we don’t typically see them,” Nzeadibe said. “So when I first saw what was going on I immediately had to share because this is obviously an issue with race, classism and gender combined into one.”

    Because the person being restrained has dark skin and the security guards don’t it’s automatically racist? Would it still be racist if the security guard who restrained the person also had dark skin? How dark?

    Because (you assume) the person restrained is female and the guards are male it’s automatically misogyny? Would that still apply if the security guard who restrained the person was also female? How do you know the gender of the people involved? Isn’t it sexist to assume gender based on superficial physical appearance?

    Because she is wearing a blanket and appears homeless it’s automatically elitism? Do you consider a degree from San Diego State more ‘elite’ than a degree from San Diego City College? How much are you (or your parents) paying a year for tuition compared to SDCC?

    Are you suggesting the light-skinned, male security guards should have waited and called a dark-skinned, female security guard wearing a blanket before taking action?

    I think most rational people will say the video doesn’t show ‘brutality’. It shows a reasonable amount of force being applied only until the person being restrained agreed to cooperate and then was released and given a hand getting back on their feet.

    If a person who is not a student or staff but is a frequent nuisance at the library walked in wearing a blanket and started assaulting or shooting at students would you be complaining that the same security guards didn’t do everything possible to protect you?

  3. Robert Carande on March 8th, 2018 11:34 am

    I did not see this incident unfold. However, I have worked with the security guard for many years and always found him professional. Students should know that the Library has cut back on security due to budget allocation decisions. I’m afraid to the extent this security guard is demonized and not supported by the University its going to give anyone working in the Library second thoughts about intervening when violence erupts and that makes for an unsafe environment IMHO.

  4. Clarence Page on March 12th, 2018 8:18 pm

    In this nation presently hoisted by the petard of Donald Trump, a country built by stolen people of color on land stolen from people of color, on a university campus that has appropriated the visage of a people of color as a symbol of treasured white fantasy and ambition, racial animus long ago burrowed into the heart of every level of campus security. A ninety-pound Black woman, really just a waif, assaulted by a privately contracted diminutive male security guard of cross-cultural nature and attributes, then wrestled to the ground and held there by his poorly trained arm clamped around her neck with a strong grip, all under the color of authority, while other Caucasian men stood by ready to assist with the tumult, is one of the latest demonstrations of excessive use of force campus constables and such have on reserve for Black targets of racial animus.
    I have often seen this young woman alternately cajoled and badgered by the security guard in question; always, the issue–a question of acceptable volume of human speak. Conversation beneath The Dome frequently carries from place to place to place at high volume levels. Yet Ms Williams, as identified in the article, was the security guards pet project, it did appear, for quieting the library.
    Often I have sat near Ms Williams at the Community and Alumni computer station. Never has she offended me, nor the volume of her human speak conduct interfered with my work or driven me to complaint or discomfort. Over the past year in which I have observed her she has kept entirely to herself. Even when accosted by the Security Guard, as often as it happened, I never observed her with a loss of composure nor speaking to him with disdain or hostility. I am convinced the security guard provoked Ms Williams with unwarranted physical contact from which she instinctively sought to protect herself.
    In the video Ms Williams clearly asserts the security guard attacked her. I believe her. The guard’s contempt for Ms Williams, which I observed, he could not mask; the hauteur of his approach to engaging with her, ostensibly for work related purposes, encourages my belief that, guided by faulty perception, he allowed a bruised ego to capture a stranglehold of authority over this young, already marginalized, Black Woman.
    Police neck restraint techniques, whether vascular or respiratory, go against humane conduct by any reasonable standard. When a subject’s behavior is neither agitated and chaotic nor challenging, why would a security guard with insufficient training ever attempt such potentially damaging, even lethal, maneuvers?
    The library has removed the publicly accessible lost and found container Ms Williams sought access to, said container was never in an unauthorized area–according to library staff members, Yet, when closed, as with all demarcated areas of the library, would presumably be off limits. But Ms Williams sought permission from the security guard to search for her lost article. Why would that prompt him to call the police? I have had to do as much for a forgotten messenger bag and other security guards have eagerly accommodated me.
    How does one loiter in the library? How can a casual observer, or even a trained sleuth, possibly know the degree of someones purposes not shared? As for the California Penal Code definition of loitering, it is a crime of intent. What intent to commit a criminal act, should the opportunity present itself, was ever demonstrated by Ms Williams?
    All the counter-culture males citing evidence against Ms Williams have previously together ruminated over aspects of her behavior and drafted a heedless (perhaps) collusion, somewhat of a “workers” vs. those “homeless” nuisances we tolerate to suggest benevolence toward community.
    One staff fellow, not at all shy, constantly rants at the invited community library patrons such things as, “We’re not so sure you people belong here. We’re discussing the problem now and I’m sure pretty soon you won’t be allowed in here any more.” Apparently this fellow loathes having an open campus. Although as true open campuses go, SDSU ain’t much of one.
    If Ms Williams must appear in court to answer to misdemeanor charges, I hope honest library patrons will come forth and help to complete the telling of this story with evidence beyond what SDSU employees have offered. However, I suspect the intensely private exchange between Ms Williams and the Elite security guard, and the security guards strong desire to maintain close body proximity to the captive, past all utilitarian purpose, shall remain buried out of our reach.
    Tragic stories in the library; tales buried deep within the crypt.

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