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$170,000 lawsuit filed by Edmonton man pepper-sprayed outside supermarket

Mark Callihoo stands beside the plaza at Calgary Trail and 80 Avenue where he was pepper sprayed by a security guard. Julia Wong/Global News

An Edmonton man who was pepper-sprayed outside a supermarket is now suing the store, the owners of the shopping plaza, its security contractor and the security guard accused of assaulting him.

READ MORE: Guard charged, accused of racial profiling after pepper-spraying Edmonton customer

The $170,000 lawsuit comes four months after Mark Callihoo said he was targeted outside the No Frills in Old Strathcona because he is indigenous. The court filing is seeking damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses and loss of income.

Callihoo said he was putting groceries into a taxi outside the No Frills at Calgary Trail and 80 Avenue on Sept. 10 when he was approached by the security guard, who is contracted by the shopping plaza.

“He says, ‘You’re not going nowhere. You stole these. You didn’t pay for none of these groceries,’” Callihoo said.

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READ MORE: Indigenous man, 12-year-old granddaughter handcuffed after trying to open account at Vancouver bank

The groceries were in yellow bags marked with the No Frills logo and Callihoo said he offered to show the security guard his receipt.

“That’s when I got pepper-sprayed. All I remember is seeing him reach in and grab a little bottle. Next thing you know, I got it in my left eye and up my left nostril.

“We ended up going back in the store. I went to the teller. I said, ‘Could you please tell this… idiot I paid for these?’ She did and he more or less just turned around and walked out.”

Two witnesses verified to Global News the exchange between the security guard and the teller.

The lawsuit states the guard “not only physically attacked [Callihoo] but intentionally and maliciously harassed and psychologically abused [Callihoo], by racially profiling him and yelling directed profanities towards [Callihoo].”
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The filing with the Court of Queen’s Bench states Callihoo suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, humiliation and indignity, thoughts of suicide, psychological aversion to return to No Frills, difficulty seeing out of both eyes as well as physical injuries to his arms and legs.

READ MORE: Watchdog orders probe of handcuffing of Indigenous grandfather, 12-year-old at Vancouver bank

The documents further outline that Callihoo has suffered lost wages and medical expenses.

The lawsuit asserts that Loblaw, First Capital Realty and an unnamed security company failed to fulfill their “duty of care” towards Callihoo and that the three parties plus the security guard acted in a manner that was “callous and arrogant and offends the ordinary community standards of moral and decent conduct.”

The claims have not been proven in court. No statements of defence have been filed yet.

Peter Quansah Jr., Callihoo’s lawyer, declined to comment.

Emails and calls to First Capital Realty and Loblaw over a two-day period were not returned.

The security guard was charged with assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. He will make his next court appearance later this month.

-with files from Global News

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