‘You’re choking me': Video shows security guard putting Black woman in chokehold outside SF nightclub

'George Floyd’s video crushed my heart, and I was about to die on the pavement just like him,' said Lauren Hopkins

‘You’re choking me': Video shows security guard putting Black woman in chokehold outside SF nightclub
Lauren Hopkins was put on a chokehold (Screenshot/Video-KRON4)
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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: A Black woman was caught on camera being placed in a chokehold by a security guard outside a San Francisco nightclub. The disturbing incident took place at the DNA Lounge on Saturday, October 29, in San Francisco.

In the video obtained by KRON4, the victim, Lauren Hopkins, 25, can be seen dressed up for the “Wicked Vibes” Halloween party at DNA. The photos of her bruises shown in the video occurred during the physical altercation with the security guards, Hopkins said. “As I was screaming, ‘You’re choking me. You’re choking me. You’re choking me,’ he starts choking harder so that I couldn’t talk. That’s when I started to black out,” the 25-year-old told the outlet. Hopkins said she went out of the club to get some fresh air but was suddenly approached by a security guard when she began rolling a marijuana cigarette. “Empty the tobacco in the paper. Throw the butt on the ground. At that point the security comes up to me and says that’s littering and you can get kicked out or thrown out of line for that,” she said. 

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Hopkins said she was physically dragged out of the line, after questioning the guard about that. “I just know that she grabbed me and threw me out of line at that point, by the shoulders, and it escalated from there. At that point I was afraid. Next thing I know I was on the ground in a chokehold, while another guard had my legs pinned down,” she recalled.

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However, the general manager of the DNA Lounge painted a completely contradictory picture of what happened. “An overly intoxicated woman was told she could not enter our premises. She repeatedly harassed staff members, screaming at and striking several of them and refusing all attempts at de-escalation… DNA Lounge is deeply cognizant of the fact that seeing a Black person being restrained under any circumstances invokes strong and very valid concerns. All attempts were made to preserve the safety of staff, patrons, and bystanders during this incident", the man said in a statement to the outlet. 

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Civil Right Attorney John Burris said, "Looking at the video the first thing I note is that the security guard has his elbow in a chokehold fashion. That is a no-no." Burris raised concerns regarding chokeholds after taking a look at the video. “A security officer is not entitled to use more force than the police officers use. Police officers do not use chokeholds. They know better than to put their elbow around a person’s neck. You can ultimately crush their neck or cause them to asphyxiate,” he said.

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The San Francisco Police Department is investigating the case. Hopkins was detained but no arrests were made. She says being choked by DNA Lounge security still affects her emotionally, even though she was released by SFPD. “George Floyd’s video crushed my heart, and I was about to die on the pavement just like him in a chokehold over a cigarette. To me, that shouldn’t be a regular occurrence for Black and brown people in this country,” Hopkins said. She told the outlet that she wants the security guards to lose their jobs.

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