A well-known and respected Métis elder says security guards banned him from City Centre Mall in downtown Edmonton for one month, all while he was trying to do a good deed.
Terry Lusty said he was catching a quick bite on the third-level food court Wednesday when he spotted a woman’s RBC credit card on the floor.
He picked it up and loudly called out the woman’s first name to see if she was still around so he could return the card.
Getting no response, he moved into the next section of the food court and called out the woman’s name again.
He said he was simply “trying to be an honest citizen and help somebody out.”
He checked the back of the card and began calling the 1-800 number on his way back to his burger and fries when he was approached by a plainclothes security guard wearing a white name badge.
IT DIDN’T LOOK ‘OFFICIAL’
“It didn’t look like anything official. It looked like something anybody could have made up,” Lusty said Friday.
The security guard asked Lusty to give the card to him, but he explained he was already on hold with the bank and that he would look after it.
Lusty told the man he was simply doing his “due diligence” in reporting the card lost. That didn’t wash with the security guard, who summoned two more security guards using his phone.
They asked him to leave, but Lusty refused.
“I told them that I had just bought a meal here and I am going to eat it in peace,” he said.
“They just stood over me while I ate. They were just power tripping. I even told them that they could sit down while I finished my meal.”
After reporting the card lost, the bank official said the card should be destroyed, Lusty said.
“That’s when I handed it over to (the security guard) and told him that he could now have it and he should cut it up,” he said.
The security guard didn’t hear Lusty so he repeated what the bank had told him, followed by “Are you deaf?”
That’s when he said he was told to immediately leave the premises and not to come back until the following day.
He refused and finished his meal. He then headed for the elevator, but not before he snapped a photo of two of the guards.
THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE
At that point, the security guards said he was banned from the mall for one month.
“I mean, this has happened before,” Lusty said, referring to an incident in 2014 when Indigenous outreach worker Gary Moostoos was banned from the food court for six months for no reason.
“This was just racist and discriminatory and it was sheer stupidity,” Lusty said.
“People from our communities need to know that if they assert themselves on matters that they feel are right about, that is their right to do so and they should do so, because otherwise our people will continue being walked all over.”
Mall general manager Olympia Trencevski viewed security footage of the incident and said she was “disappointed.”
The ban was lifted Friday, she said.
“This goes against all of our values and standards and everything we have been working so hard for,” Trencevski said. “What we saw was unacceptable.”
The plainclothes security guard has been removed from duties and will be required to redo all of his training, including diversity, sensitivity, Indigenous awareness and customer service training, Paladin Security executive vice-president Greg Swecera said Friday.
The other two guards will be required to review the footage and may undergo further training.
Lusty will receive a written apology from the group and a face-to-face apology from the plainclothes security guard, Swecera said.
“I’ve had very good, positive, conversation with Terry and we are working through it,” he said.