AVENTURA, FLA. (WSVN) - - A South Florida family has filed a lawsuit against Bloomingdale’s and one of their security guards after the guard tackled a 13-year-old girl at the Aventura Mall branch on suspicion of shoplifting, but police records show that may not have been the case.
Surveillance video from the Feb. 10 incident shows the female security guard approaching the teen at the top of an escalator outside of the store and pushing her to the ground as she held a shopping back in her right hand.
The girl’s mother and their family attorney spoke to 7News on Thursday afternoon.
“My daughter was in absolute panic,” said her mother, Federica Riveroll.
“It was a violent, aggressive, hostile attack,” said the attorney, Jacob Joseph Givner.
According to police records and the lawsuit filed by the teen’s family, Jamie Stubbs, a Bloomingdale’s loss prevention officer, followed the girl out of the store and took her down atop the escalator.
Her mother described the incident as a brutal beatdown.
“She was crying, screaming for help. She kept screaming, ‘Don’t touch me,'” said Riveroll.
Court documents show this all started because Stubbs thought the girl had shoplifted bathing suits.
“None of that was true,” said Givner.
Riveroll said she was waiting for her daughter near the escalator, and when she saw the commotion, she called police.
“I screamed, ‘Please, somebody call the police!'” she said.
Officers discovered that the bathing suits in question were all still in the store.
The police report states, “All four swimsuits were in the fitting room where [the teen] had left them. Nothing was stolen.”
“It was very aggressive and violent. This woman was screaming that [my daughter had] shoplifted,” said Riveroll. “There was a crowd building up around us. There were many, many onlookers. A lot of people were recording this event. It was very humiliating for all of us.”
According to the lawsuit, the worst part of the takedown happened out of the security camera’s frame. At least one other witness told police that he “observed Stubbs grab [the teen] by her arm and tackle her to the ground.”
“She’s about 5 [feet] 10 [inches tall], 245 pounds, and the victim is a 13-year-old girl,” said Givner.
Stubbs was since fired from her position, but as the girl’s family moves forward with their lawsuit, Riveroll said they’re troubled by Bloomingdale’s response.
“They said that the victim has assumed the risks of being attacked simply by virtue of shopping at Bloomingdale’s,” said Givner. “It’s an entirely, completely unprovoked account. The victim’s only sin was that she went shopping at Bloomingdale’s.”
As of Thursday night, Bloomingdale’s has not responded to 7News’ calls for comment.
Meanwhile, Givner said he’s hopeful additional witnesses will come forward.
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