NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Community activists are calling for change after a 12-year-old they say was looking to buy snacks was kicked by a clerk at a North Charleston convenience store.
The boy's mom, representatives for the National Action Network and The Coalition: People United to take Back our Community were among those speaking out Monday on behalf of the 12-year-old, who is on crutches after the incident Friday night at Uncle Sam's Mart on Spruill Avenue.
Djaris Porcher was not there when the incident happened but says her son went to the store around 9:30 p.m. Friday to purchase snacks and boiled peanuts for her and his sister. She says her son asked 19-year-old Azmi Abdelrahman for help finding the peanuts and took out his cell phone for a photo of the snack to assist with a language barrier.
"He asked the man, 'sir, can you please tell me where is [sic] your boiled peanuts?'" Porcher said. She believes the store clerk didn't understand him and started speaking his native language.
"My son said 'sir, I'll show you on my cell phone how a can of boiled peanuts look,'" Porcher alleges. That's when her son was said to be grabbed by his shoulder, shoved out of the store and kicked in his ankle.
The store clerk told officers the 12-year-old was recording and taunting him.
"We have seen a sword-wielding at a young man off of Dorchester Road at Andrews Mart, now we see a 12-year-old baby being drop-kicked," Elder Johnson of the National Action Network said.
NAN and other groups began speaking out about what they call "predatory" convenience stores two months ago after a video of a suspected shoplifter being detained with guns, a sword, and a stick by store associates was shared thousands of times on social media.
"It's about time for this community to stand up to companies practicing predatory practices and say we're not going to have it anymore." Thomas Dixon with The Coalition said Monday. "We will take our dollars elsewhere as soon as we find somewhere to take our dollars to."
Johnson said he hopes the store clerk is prosecuted to the fullest. He claims a group will protest the establishment all week.
Johnson also plans to make a list of stores known for being disrespectful to patrons.
Abdelrahman was back at the store Sunday and said he kicked the boy because he was upset, but denied kicking him in the leg.
"They start asking me some questions that I did not understand," Abdelrahman said Sunday. "I was asking them to explain to me what's going on so they started making fun of me because of the English and they start taking a video of me."
"I know it's big mistake to touch a little kid, but I did not touch his leg," Abdelrahman added.