A Walmart security guard who was allegedly beaten by a furious motorist on Saturday evening in Sherbrooke, in the Twonships of Eastern Quebec, while he was trying to apply physical distancing measures outside the store, remained Monday in a medically induced coma.
Witnesses reported that guard Philippe Jean hit the ground hard and suffered serious head injuries after a suspect threw him outside the main entrance to the store.
Jean grabbed the hood of the car after being hit and was dragged for several meters, witnesses said. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Nacime Kouddar, a 25-year-old Montrealer, is accused of crossing paths with Jean and faces three charges: assault with a vehicle, assault with a weapon and assault and battery.
The accused appeared briefly by videoconference after being arrested over the weekend and will return to court Monday in Sherbrooke.
Fundraising from the crowd raised more than $ 110,000 for Jean, a father of five, 35 years old.
Jean works for TITAN Security and vice president Michel Juneau-Katsuya said he and his staff were shocked by what happened in Sherbrooke.
“It is hard to believe that under such circumstances, someone would lose him as the suspect was charged,” said Juneau-Katsuya. “You just shook your head and said,” This goes against all the logical sense that I have. He was not prevented from entering. The only thing that prevented him was to enter a couple. “
Juneau-Katsuya added that Walmart Jean works in a community with many families who often buy in groups, which is why the rule of one person per car has been applied.
Prime Minister François Legault was questioned about rising tensions in stores and grocery stores during the pandemic at his press conference on Sunday and called the alleged attack “unacceptable”.
“Unfortunately, we have some crazy people in our society,” said Legault. “I have not heard that it happens a lot in Quebec. Of course, what happened in Sherbrooke is unacceptable. “
Deputy Prime Minister Geneviève Guilbault tweeted her support for Jean and his family on Monday.
“In these difficult times, the men and women who protect us are also at the front and vulnerable,” she said. “I call for calm to all Quebecers. Let’s be united and follow the instructions. “
SECURITY IN A PANDEMIC
TITAN has more than 200 guards across the province who had to apply the various measures issued by public health authorities.
Juneau-Katsuya said that the majority of Quebecers respect the rules and do not cause problems.
“They are on the front line,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of people will follow the instructions without problem.”
On occasion, someone will try to intimidate his way in front of the security guards, said Juneau-Katsuya, but added that citizens will help and often call the perpetrator.
“The general public will also intervene. If someone seems to override their privilege by trying to enter a store or something like that, generally, the whole gamut gets involved, “he said.
Juneau-Katsuya said the company requires every guard to report after their shift and that the company regularly reminds its guards not to exceed their authority.
In the event of a too tense situation like that of Saturday, the guards are invited to call the police.
“We know that we are in a time of tension for the whole society, so there is sometimes verbal interaction with people who are not satisfied with the situation because they have to wait or something like that, but the guards have been trained, “he said. “They have to understand that they have a job to do, that’s why they get paid. They have to help our customers keep law and order as much as possible, but at the end of the day, they are not police. “
Juneau-Katsuya said the job requires calm and patience, and to act as educators as well as executors.
“They must be very patient and professional because their training has taught them and get people as much as possible to understand that cooperation will make everyone easier,” he said.