The security guard of a grocery store in the Mission District accused a customer of having a Black Lives Matter episode for filming him during a confrontation in a neighborhood often at the center of racial tension in San Francisco.
The incident unfolded Sunday when Tenderloin muralist Amos Gregory was smoking a cigarette in the parking lot of the new Grocery Outlet on South Van Ness Avenue and 24th Street, where he had just purchased groceries.
Gregory, a U.S. Navy Veteran who is black, told the San Francisco Examiner that the security guard asked him whether he was waiting for an Uber before accusing him of loitering and later protesting.
“I can’t believe this shit happened to me,” Gregory said. “You just get depressed. I was buying food for Mother’s Day. It’s just an instant buzz kill.”
Eric Liittschwager, independent owner and operator of Grocery Outlet, said the unidentified security guard was hired by a third-party company.
“The security company has assured me that this matter has been addressed,” Liittschwager said in an email.
Gregory began recording after the confrontation started.
The security guard is the first person to bring up “Black Lives Matter” in the video. His full sentence is incoherent in the footage, but Gregory said the security guard muttered over the radio that there is a Black Lives Matter protester in the parking lot.
Another person can be heard off camera calling the incident an “episode.”
“Black Lives episode?” Gregory then said to the security guard.
“That’s right. That’s you,” the security guard said in response. “That’s all you guys ever do is protest. This is private property.”
“‘You guys?’” Gregory repeated.
“You’re creating an obnoxious nuisance,” the guard said. “That’s right, people like yourself.”
Gregory then told the security guard, “You can’t say that to people.”
“I can say whatever I want,” the security guard said.
“‘You people?’” Gregory said. “Black people?”
“You people,” the security guard said. “You people.”
Gregory said he later left the parking lot and filed a report at Mission Police Station.
The incident reflects racial tensions in the Mission, where protesters and police have clashed over police shootings in recent years.
Gregory, who is the muralist behind Veterans Alley in the Tenderloin, claims that the confrontation started because of “straight up profiling, racism.”
“I was wearing my black pants and black hoodie with my hoodie on because it was cold outside,” Gregory said. “I think he profiled me.”
Liittschwager, who opened the Grocery Outlet on March 9, said he wants all customers to “feel welcome, safe and respected in my store.”