A teenage girl who was the subject of a Facebook video that went viral over the weekend following outrage over how loss prevention officers detained her outside a Vancouver WinCo was booked into the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center.
The 14-year-old girl appeared Monday in juvenile court on suspicion of second-degree robbery. She will be arraigned Wednesday.
She is accused of stealing candy from the store at 905 N.E. 136th Ave., and was stopped by two loss prevention officers outside. The girl fought with the employees while being detained, causing injury to both, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in support of the allegation.
WinCo provided responding police officers with video of the alleged theft and fight, the affidavit states.
A video of the altercation was posted to Facebook on Saturday by a bystander and shows the loss prevention officers detaining the girl in front of the store as she attempts to leave. Several bystanders can be heard yelling at the employees about using excessive force and not having the authority to detain the girl.
After interviewing witnesses and reviewing video footage, police determined that no one saw the loss prevention employees assault the girl or use excessive force, said Kim Kapp, spokeswoman for the Vancouver Police Department.
Kapp said the loss prevention employees were unable to handcuff the girl because she was fighting them. She sustained a scraped knee and elbow in the struggle.
WinCo’s general office, which is handling questions about the issue, was unavailable for comment Monday afternoon but did issue a statement to news partner KATU that said the suspect “attempted to flee and was detained by WinCo’s loss prevention. At this point, the individual initiated contact by physically attacking multiple employees.”
WinCo stated the suspect’s attacks occurred before footage shared in a video posted on social media.
The company said it is “continuing to investigate the situation and cooperating fully with local law enforcement.”
A representative with WinCo sent the following statement to The Columbian’s news partner KATU News:
Thank you so much for contacting us regarding the video that was published on social media. We appreciate the public’s concern over this incident and would like to provide information about what took place, as well as our ongoing investigation. WinCo Foods began to investigate immediately after the incident took place. While in our store, the individual concealed items and left the store without paying. The individual was then approached by WinCo Foods’ loss prevention employees, who identified themselves as such. As our employees questioned the individual, she attempted to flee and was detained by WinCo’s loss prevention. At this point, the individual initiated contact by physically attacking multiple employees. All of this occurred immediately before the footage started in the video posted on social media.
WinCo Foods immediately called the Vancouver Police Department, who responded quickly, and subsequently Vancouver Police Department arrested the individual for robbery. The video concludes with the officer arriving onsite.
We understand that the media, our customers, and the general public are interested and concerned about the situation. We are continuing to investigate the situation and cooperating fully with local law enforcement, and are unable to provide any further details at this time. As we continue our investigation, we want to thank everyone for allowing us a chance to explain the full details of what happened – including key pieces of information not shown in the video. Thank you.