The Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) has secured a lawyer for the First Nations woman who was seen being detained in a social media video in the parking lot of the FreshCo on 33rd Street West.
Tribal Chief Mark Arcand told reporters at an April 16 press conference that Pfefferle Law has agreed to defend the woman pro bono.
Brian Pfefferle said he has been in touch with STC and will represent her should she need a lawyer.
Arcand said he was taken back after watching the nine-minute video of the loss prevention officer (LPO) trying to detain the woman, adding his voice to the call for the guard to be fired and for criminal charges against him to be considered for the amount of force he used.
“He extremely went overboard and harmed this First Nations lady. There has to be consequences for him as an individual, and I’m asking the Crown to consider that as well,” the Tribal Chief said.
Arcand added it was disappointing to witness this given the work that has taken place on reconciliation in the city over the past few years.
He asked the woman to get in touch with the STC so they could start working with Pfefferle and said he doesn’t know her or her name.
She was charged with theft and assault.
On April 15, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations called for the man to be fired and charges to be considered.
Chief Bobby Cameron told Global News the 30-year-old woman is from Deschambault Lake, part of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation.
Security 2J2 offers self-defence courses as well as training for security guards and LPOs.
It’s founder, Joel Pedersen, is a former Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) officer.
While he said every security company will have different protocols for how to treat potential thefts, generally de-escalating situations and gathering information for police is the best route for security guards to follow.
“If you’re able to identify the person you can always follow it up and provide that information to the police, because at the end of the day it’s the police that are going to be doing the investigation and they are the professionals,” Pedersen said.
The woman who recorded the video said she witnessed the entire altercation, starting with the LPOs first contact with the woman.
Jade Acikahte said the plain-clothed security guard approached the woman as she was leaving FreshCo and asked to see the contents in her bags.
She said the woman agreed and emptied her bags.
Acikahte then said the man asked the woman to re-enter the store to look at video footage, but she didn’t want to follow him.
“She continued to refuse. She was being very calm and stern that she did not want to go with him. And he then put her in a position to be handcuffed with her hands behind her back,” she said.
That’s when Acikahte started recording the video on her phone.
She said the man never identified himself until he told the crowd, which was seen in the video.
Acikahte said she spoke with the woman once the altercation had ended and told the woman she was sorry and that she recorded a video.
“I wish that I had just got in between them. I wish I had put her in a position to get away. I mean, maybe that sounds bad. But whether she shoplifted or not, she’s a human and she didn’t deserve what happened to her,” she said.
Global News has made multiple requests for comment from the security company linked to this incident, but have not received a response.
The SPS said there have been no developments or additional charges since April 15.