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Boston security guard indicted for violent assault of 11-year-old accused of shoplifting

Mohammad Khan, who had been reprimanded by his employer at least four times previously for excessive force, threw the girl down and punched her, prosecutors said.
Image: A Primark store window in Boston in 2016.
A Primark store window in Boston in 2016.David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images file

A security guard has been indicted for violently throwing down and punching an 11-year-old girl accused of shoplifting at a Boston clothing store last summer.

Mohammad Khan, 36, of Cambridge, and his employer, New Jersey-based Securitas Security Services USA Inc., were indicted Tuesday, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said in a statement Wednesday. They have been charged with one count of assault and battery on a child under 14 and one count each of civil rights violations.

Prosecutors allege Khan used excessive and unreasonable force June 9 to detain the 11-year-old, who later admitted to authorities that she had taken several items valued at $175 from a Primark store.

Over the course of seven minutes, Khan, who officials said stands more than 6 feet tall and weighs 225 pounds, grabbed the girl, pulled her back into the store and pushed her into a corner, obstructing the view of a closed-circuit television security camera. He allegedly grabbed the girl by the head and neck, threw her to the ground and punched her in the face while straddling her as she was on the ground. His Securitas co-workers and passersby urged him to stop, prosecutors said.

But even after he and the girl were separated by Boston Police, Khan re-engaged with her, prosecutors said.

Video of the incident was captured by a witness and shared on Facebook where it was widely viewed.

Khan had been reprimanded at least four times previously for using more force than permitted by Securitas and for violating protocol, the district attorney's office said.

Officials said the company charged in this case is a subsidiary of Securitas AB, a Swedish-based multinational corporation with 370,000 employees around the world and 120,000 in the United States. It is one of the largest security firms in the nation.

Khan is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 17 in Suffolk Superior Court, at which time prosecutors said additional information about the allegations will be provided.

NBC News reached out to Securitas and Primark for comment but did not immediately hear back.