BOSTON (CBS) — A security guard who worked at Primark in downtown Boston and allegedly threw an 11-year-old to the ground and punched her in the face pleaded not guilty to assault charges in court Tuesday.
Mohammad Khan, 36, of Cambridge, was released on personal recognizance bail. Both he and his employer, Securitas Services USA Inc., are charged with assault and battery on a child under 14. It is unclear whether or not Khan is still employed by the security company.
Police said Khan used excessive force when he tried to detain her back in June after she allegedly attempted to steal approximately $175 worth of merchandise. Part of the incident was caught on video.
Khan has been reprimanded on at least four previous occasions for using more force than allowed, police said.
Prosecutors said Khan was ordered to have no contact with any shoplifters but despite that order, he approached the young girl, grabbed her by the arm, and pulled her into the store and into a corner, obstructing her view from a nearby camera.
“Khan grabbed that young lady by the head and neck region and forcibly threw her to the ground.
While on the ground, he placed his body on top of that young woman and began pushing and twisting her neck,” a prosecutor described to the court.
The struggle allegedly went on for three minutes.
Khan and his defense attorney, Jeanne Carol, declined to comment in court Tuesday.
Paul Kelly, an attorney for Securitas, said, “It’s unusual but it happens, you know there is law there but we’ll deal with that at the appropriate time.”
A pretrial hearing is set for Jan. 22.