John Valencia said he was picking up some coffee and creamer at the Stater Brothers on E. Baseline Street around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. The line to the only open register was long, so he asked a manager nearby if they could open another checkout lane. He said the manager ignored him.
"I just went and got in line, I was like, ‘Well, thank you, you know - great customer service.’" He said the manager then responded and seemed upset.
"At no time was I being aggressive, at no time was I being loud; was I threatening him or any way - I was trying to tell him like ‘you know bro, calm down’ - I just asked you to open another lane," said Valencia.
Eventually, after being asked to leave, Valencia said he was suddenly physically dragged into a closet.
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"Other employees came and I can remember it was like they had me on the ground, and I seen them trying to close the door, and I was trying to kick the door open so they wouldn't close it, and they grabbed my legs and pulled them up," said Valencia. "Two of them started beating on me, then they started kicking my face and stomping on my back and stomping my head while holding me down." He said eventually someone said "Let him up, let him up."
He called 911 and his wife, Meagan Lacey.
"It was terrifying to get the phone call from him," she said, adding that Valencia is the protector of their family of seven. She can’t believe that the witness who was filming was the only one to step in to do anything.
"There were so many people in that store and so many employees and so many people that were given the chance to help and nobody did - she was the only one," Lacey said of the witness who recorded part of the encounter. "I know that she couldn't have done much physically against all those people, so I'm just thankful that she did record it and that she was willing to share that recording."
Valencia said he suffered a concussion, has big bump on the back of his head and that his eyebrow was split open. Their family wants everyone involved to be held accountable.
Stater Brothers issued the following statement:
"We are currently conducting an internal investigation of the incident and are unable to comment any further at this time."
San Bernardino Police confirm that they received a report about the incident.
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