Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Walgreens employee no longer at store after fight


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The cause of a fight between customers and employees at a Market Street Walgreens store earlier this month is still being investigated, and one employee is no longer working at the store, according to Walgreens officials who are looking into the incident.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Police Lieutenant Leroy Lindo told the Bay Area Reporter this week that police are viewing the altercation as an unfortunate incident that escalated into a "donnybrook" when people who had nothing do to with the original incident got involved. No charges have been filed, he said.

"If someone wants to come down to the general works detail and file charges ... that is up to them," he said.

To date, no one involved in the incident has done so.

Lindo said it was impossible to tell who, if anyone, was at fault based on the information police received from interviewing those involved at the scene when officers responded following the March 6 incident.

"It seems everyone had selective memory loss when it comes to who started this whole thing," Lindo said. "Everyone we interviewed had a different version and with that information there is no way the district attorney would file charges. We are like the referees in this thing. We can only call the fouls if we see them."

Lindo said the incident began as a between a security guard and one customer and then bystanders got involved, complicating the matter.

The fight occurred early Monday evening, March 6, at the Walgreens located at 2145 Market Street, after a couple of customers allegedly set off a security alarm as they were exiting the store, according to police reports. City police and emergency crews were called to the scene after a fight erupted between at least two Walgreens employees, the customers, and some witnesses. Witnesses and police reported that homophobic and racial terms had been exchanged during the fracas.

Police reports indicate that officers talked to approximately 10 people who were either directly involved or were witnesses. One man was taken to a local hospital and treated for injuries received, according to police.

Police reports do not indicate if there was any evidence that an actual shoplifting attempt had been made prior to the altercation.

The Walgreens investigation is continuing, however, according to Carol Hively, corporate spokeswoman.

"Walgreens has completed the first part of our investigation – we finished interviewing the employees who were at the store at the time of the fight," said Hively. "The next step of the investigation is to interview the customers involved in this incident."

Hively did verify, however, that one employee who had been involved in the fight is no longer working at the store.

"We don't reveal the details of employee discipline so can't discuss the specifics, but we can say the store greeter is not working for Walgreens at this time," she said.

She said that the employees involved in the altercation were Walgreens workers and not hired through a private security agency.

"We take this matter very seriously and will take additional action based on the rest of our investigation. We want to ensure that nothing like this happens again," Hively said.

Hively said Walgreens had a number of people looking into the matter both here in San Francisco and at the corporate office located outside Chicago. She said interviews with customers should be finalized by Friday. "This whole process has been very time consuming," she said.

One witness, Randall Low, reported to the B.A.R ., that he sustained a broken nose and cheekbone as a result of the incident. He said that he and a friend had just entered the front door when they noticed a Walgreens security guard engaged in a heated discussion with two men who had been leaving.

Low said he contacted the Walgreens corporate office the following day but declined to make a statement after someone requested he be recorded.

Hively said no one at the Walgreens consumer relations office that she works said they received a call from a man with a broken nose. "We don't tape phone calls. I'm wondering if the customer might have spoken with our insurance company," she said.

"We intend to speak to him [Low] and the other customers involved during the next phase of our investigation and should resolve things then," she added.

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