East Village resident Tessa Lena is reportedly suing the Whole Foods Market® Bowery outpost and its security firm after a company guard allegedly accused her of shoplifting and hitting her in the chest.
As the Daily News first reported, Lena is seeking $10 million in damages from Whole Foods, Elite Security Personnel and the unidentified assailant.
The story begins in April 2017 at the grocery on Houston and the Bowery, when the security guard allegedly tackled Lena without any warning and then accused her of stealing a drink that she had purchased elsewhere.
Lena claims in her lawsuit that because the woman didn’t identify herself as a guard and wasn’t wearing any clothes identifying her as one, she had no idea the woman worked for the store.
According to the suit, the woman was “wearing a grungy t-shirt and had the overall appearance not of a security personnel, but of an agitated and disheveled ‘regular person.’”
Lena says she paid for everything she left the store with, but that the woman followed her out and at first implied Lena had gone for the five-finger discount.
After a manager intervened, Lena was eventually cleared to leave. She avoided the store for months before venturing back in this past August, when she saw the security guard on duty.
“I came up to her. I wanted to get her name, and I obviously wanted an apology,” Lena said. “I told her. ‘Look, remember you assaulted me? You owe me an apology for that.’”
That didn't go over well with the guard.
“She was escalating. She was telling me to leave the store, to get out,” Lena recalled. “She was being so rude, so I started filming.”
Once outside, fists flew, and a manager intervened again, admonishing the guard, she said.
The Daily News post includes the video clip.
Lena has been shopping more often at Trader Joe's now, the News noted.