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Watch: Suit Alleges Man Was 'Harassed Because He Was Gay, Shot Because He Was Black'

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Dec 13, 2018
Jonathan Hart is pictured in this screen grab the Channel 9 news report posted at YoutUbe:
Jonathan Hart is pictured in this screen grab the Channel 9 news report posted at YoutUbe:  (Source:Screen grab / KCAL Channel 9 via YouTube)

A gay 21-year-old African American who was shot in the back of the neck after scuffling with a Walgreens security guard was "profiled because he was homeless," according to the lawyer representing his family.

The lawyer also claims that dead man was "harassed because he was gay" and "shot because he was black," reports local news channel ABC 7.

Jonathan Hart died after a security guard at a Walgreens in Hollywood, California, shot him in the back of the neck while Hart was walking away from him after a confrontation on Dec. 2, the lawyer contended.

The confrontation was allegedly sparked by a "shoplifting incident," but one of the family's lawyers, Carl Douglas, rejected the suggestion that he was shoplifting. Douglas spoke at a press conference about the suit the family has filed, which seeks $525 million from Walgreens.

Lawyers for the Hart family also demanded that the security guard in question face charges of manslaughter.

That guard claimed that Hart was shoplifting, and said that Hart had initiated the physical altercation, reported another news channel, CBS affiliate KCAL. Douglas denied this, saying, "John was not shoplifting when he was shot," the CBS affiliate reported.

Channel 7 showed cell phone video that showed the scene of the tragedy. The voiceover explained that a pool of red fluid seen to be on the floor was red wine from broken bottles, and was not the blood of the shooting victim.

According to the Channel 7 report, Walgreens issued a statement in which the company offered its "condolences" to the Hart family, and said it had discontinued its use of the company providing security to their stores. The statement from Walgreens also said that the company will "continue to fully cooperate in the ongoing police investigation."

Watch the ABC-7 news clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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