California dad claims Stater Bros staff beat, kicked him over sarcasm at long checkout line
SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA: A California father-of-seven has accused workers at a grocery store of dragging him into a closet and delivering punishing blows after he complained about the long line at a register. John Valencia was filmed scuffling with staff at Stater Brothers in San Bernardino on April 20, but said the violence escalated in a private store closet.
Valencia told Fox 13 that the incident began when he went to pick up a coffee. The line to the only open register was long, so he asked a manager nearby if they could open another checkout lane. He said the manager ignored him. When he told the manager 'great customer service,' in what he insists was a non-aggressive manner, he said the staffer asked him to leave. Eventually, after being asked to leave, Valencia said he was suddenly physically dragged, tossed into a store closet and assaulted.
"Other employees came and I can remember it was like they had me on the ground, and I seen them trying to close the door, and I was trying to kick the door open so they wouldn't close it, and they grabbed my legs and pulled them up," said Valencia. "Two of them started beating on me, then they started kicking my face and stomping on my back and stomping my head while holding me down," Valencia said the beating only stopped when another worker shouted: Let him up, let him up.
Valencia said he called 911 and his wife, Meagan Lacey, after the beatdown. Lacey said, "It was terrifying to get the phone call from him."
"There were so many people in that store and so many employees and so many people that were given the chance to help and nobody did - she was the only one." Lacey said of the witness who recorded part of the encounter. "I know that she couldn't have done much physically against all those people, so I'm just thankful that she did record it and that she was willing to share that recording."
Valencia said that he suffered a concussion and that his eyebrow was split open from the assault. "I want the people involved to be arrested,” he told KABC. “They shouldn’t be working at Stater Brothers. anymore. That’s not a safe environment with those type of employees."
Stater Brothers said they were conducting an internal investigation, and that they were unable to comment further. 'We are currently conducting an internal investigation of the incident and are unable to comment any further at this time,' this was the statement issued. San Bernardino Police said they'd received a report about the incident, but did not say whether an investigation is ongoing, or if charges have been filed.