Black community leaders and protestors have descended on a Charlotte beauty supply store after video of its owner attacking a female customer went viral.
Sung Ho Lim, the owner of Missha Beauty, was seen on cellphone video kicking and choking the woman on March 9, an assault that was elicited after he says the unidentified woman stole a pair of eyelashes.
In the 4-minute clip, the woman denies Lim’s claims, inviting him to check her belongings. A shoving match ensues and then Lim kicks the woman, knocks her to the ground, and places her in a choke hold.
Lim told the Charlotte Observer that the video doesn’t show the entire incident —particularly the woman stealing the $3.99 item — and plans to take the surveillance footage to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
But for leaders and customers, the alleged theft didn’t warrant such a violent reaction.
“You cannot take police matters in your own hands. You can’t act like the police,” Civil rights activist John Barnett said. “Whatever the case may be, we know he cannot be keeping someone in a choke hold, stealing or not.”
Corine Mack, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg chapter of the NAACP, echoed similar sentiments.
“This young lady was the victim. Even if she had stolen a $3.99 pack of eyelashes, the physical assault she had to endure was not the way to handle that,” Mack said. “If that’s not how the CMPD sees it, that’s a problem for the NAACP. This woman was punched, kicked and choked.”
Lim, who know longer works at the store, addressed protestors and acknowledged that he overreacted to the situation.
“I don’t know, it just happened. I went crazy,” he said. “No matter what the reason, I feel very sorry to her and to them.”
While social media users have pegged the incident as a racial divide, longtime employees said the store located on Wilkerson Boulevard is welcoming to all races and nationalities.
No arrests have been made in the case.