Street vendor, mother punched by security guard outside Pomona strip mall, sparking protests

A fight between a security guard and a street vendor caught on camera outside a Pomona strip mall triggered a protest outside the mall over the weekend. Pomona police are now investigating the altercation.

Vendors told FOX 11 they were setting up on the same sidewalk they've been using for years, on the side of the strip mall off Holt Avenue and Indian Hill Boulevard, facing the El Super Grocery Store, when a strip mall security guard aggressively approached them. Jonathan, one of the vendors, took out his phone and started recording the interaction.

In the clip, the security guard said there was an issue with one of the canopies the vendors wore using, and that it was on the dirt off the sidewalk. Jonathan said he was willing to move it, but the confrontation quickly turned ugly.

Witnesses said the strip mall security guard punched a street vendor and her son outside the store, and when a bystander intervened, he allegedly pulled out a gun.

Pomona police responded, and were recorded by vendors as the officers say that, even though they had seen what happened on the video, that if they had to go talk to the security guard, they would also, most likely, end up citing the vendors as well, which scared them enough to not proceed with a police report. 

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Later though, demonstrators and angry vendors, led by Alex Enamorado, vice president of the Union of Vendors Association, protested at the strip mall. They told FOX 11 that the security guard came back, and tried to run the group over before pepper spraying the crowd. 

"They took him for a little joyride, he came right back… then he started pepper spraying," a witness said. "He started driving recklessly around this area, almost hit some kids, came out of the car to run into us, and started pepper spraying everybody including children." 

Police responded again, and told FOX 11 that they're investigating the whole series of events. In a statement, the department said:

On Sunday, [Sept.] 3, 2023, the Pomona Police Department received several calls for service at the El Super grocery store regarding confrontations between store security and a group of vendors in the vicinity. Officers responded and attempted to deescalate the situation. Officers documented several battery reports, with one citizen's arrest and the arrest of a second person for an outstanding warrant.

The police department is currently seeking witnesses and any unedited video of the incidents. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Pomona Police Department at 909-620-2095. All reports will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for decisions on formal charges.

El Super management said the security guard was not hired by them, but by the property owner, who told FOX 11 that the guard is from Allied Universal. FOX 11 has reached out to Allied Universal for comment but has not yet heard back. 

The guard's car was damaged during the protest. Pomona Police did shut down the grocery store while the rally continued in the parking lot.

Vendors told FOX 11 that they've never had issues with the market, or the property before this guard started working there. Issues involving Pomona street vendors have been on the news before, with the city saying vendors are required to have permits. Enamorado said most of the vendors have been using the spot without issues for years, adding that most can't afford the permit process and that the union is working with cities and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to come up with a viable solution.