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Shopkeeper denies choking woman he accused of shoplifting after huge protest erupts in Peckham
13 September 2023, 05:37
A shopkeeper has denied choking a customer after a huge protest broke out in south-east London following footage of him grappling with her.
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Hundreds of people showed up for the protest, with placards including "Keep your hands off black women", "Our investment ends here" and "Stop the violence against women".
The clip, which only showed the Peckham Hair and Cosmetics shopkeeper Sohail Sindho wrestling the woman forcefully towards the exit while she struck at him with a shopping basket, was viewed thousands of times online.
In the video, the unnamed woman says: "Get off me, he's trying to strangle me. Get the f*** off me.
"Call the police! Call the police!... This man just strangled me!"
Sindho told Antoine Allen, a reporter: "Choking means like… it looks like I'm choking her. It's not choking - at the moment one hand was at the back. I was like, detaining her."
Peckham hair shop: the owner agreed to speak to me. The police arrived just as he was closing the shop.— Antoine Allen (@AntoineSpeaker) September 12, 2023
The woman in the video had been arrested the day before. I wasn’t able to speak to her. If she wants to be interviewed I can arrange the platform for her to tell her side. pic.twitter.com/1egcE365IB
Other videos showed a woman carrying items towards the exit of the shop, being stopped by a worker and then hitting him repeatedly.
Police later said that the woman was accused of assault and shoplifting, and had been arrested and bailed pending further investigation.
Man chokes woman during confrontation in Peckham
The woman was black, and many people accused the shopkeeper of racism. Others online praised him for fighting back against the alleged shoplifting. LBC has not been able to contact the shop for comment.
There were some claims on social media that the woman had been trying to return some items to the shop for a refund.
Local community leader Sayce Holmes-Lewis, a founder of an anti-knife crime group, helped organise a protest outside the Rye Lane shop on Tuesday afternoon. The shop was shuttered and the road was closed temporarily.
"What I have to be very clear on is that no one needs to do anything in terms of violent behaviour or anything like that, we turn up here and... we hit them in the pocket," he said.
"That's the only language they understand. I don't need anyone incriminating themselves or doing anything silly."
Representatives from the Forever Family Force (FF Force) were seen at the protest.
The FF Force, a black-uniformed group who say they are "against racism, injustice & inequality" were at the Peckham event there to make sure protesters were "all in check" and "all in order", Mr Holmes-Lewis said.
Some people were heard chanting: "We don't need them, they need we."
A spokesperson for the Met said: “We are aware of a protest outside the shop and officers are in touch with the organisers.
"We appeal for people to remain calm while we carry out a full investigation.:
Addressing the original video, Detective Chief Superintendent Seb Adjei-Addoh, the Met's local policing commander for Southwark, said: "We know people will be concerned about a video circulating online of an incident in a shop.
"Our officers attended on Monday and continue to investigate the full circumstances of what has taken place. The investigation will include reviewing the actions of everyone involved.
"I would like to thank people in our local community for remaining calm and giving us the time to conduct a thorough investigation.
"If you have information that may help us I would urge you to get in touch."
Sadiq Khan said on Tuesday evening: "I know Londoners are concerned by the recent events in a shop in Peckham. I'm in touch with the Met Police and am urgently seeking further information."