SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A disturbing scene was caught on camera outside a San Francisco nightclub. A Black woman says she was placed in a chokehold by a security guard.
“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 victim, 25-year-old Lauren Hopkins, told KRON4.
The incident happened at the DNA Lounge Saturday in San Francisco. In the video above, you can see photos of Hopkins dressed up for the “Wicked Vibes” halloween party at DNA and photos of the bruises she says occurred during the physical altercation with the security guards.
She says she stepped out of the club to get some fresh air and began rolling a marijuana cigarette when she was approached by security.
“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,” Hopkins said.
She says after questioning the guard about that, she was physically dragged out of the line.
“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.
The general manager of the DNA Lounge paints a different picture of what happened. A statement to KRON4 it reads in part:
“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 deescalation… 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.”
“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,” said Civil Right Attorney John Burris.
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Burris took a look at the video, and raised this concern regarding chokeholds.
“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.
The San Francisco Police Department was called to the scene to investigate. They detained Hopkins, but no arrests were made. She says although she was released by SFPD, being choked by DNA Lounge security still grips her emotionally.
“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.
Hopkins told KRON4 she wants the security guards to lose their jobs.