Surveillance video that appears to show an off-duty police officer working as a security guard at an Atlanta Wal-Mart beating Tyrone Carnegay with a baton
WSB-TV Screenshot

An Atlanta man claims that he was severely beaten by an off-duty police officer working as security for Wal-Mart and spent three days in jail after he was accused of stealing a tomato that he had purchased.

Tyrone Carnegay told WSB-TV that the security guard confronted him during the October 2014 incident as he tried to leave an Atlanta Wal-Mart. He claims that the guard told him to get on the ground and then started beating him with his baton.

"He's giving me a verbal command. As he's grabbing me, he's beating me at the same time," Carnegay told the news station. Surveillance video of the incident appears to show a guard striking Carnegay several times in the legs with a baton until Carnegay falls to the ground after "my leg started giving out," Carnegay says.

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Carnegay claims that the guard never asked him for his receipt or even inquired as to whether he had stolen an item.

Carnegay says two bones were broken in his right leg and an artery was ruptured. Once the officer got him to the ground, Carnegay says he cuffed him and reached in his pocket to find the receipt for the "stolen" tomato. Carnegay says he was then taken to a local hospital where he was chained to the bed.

And Carnegay says his nightmare wasn't over: The security officer claimed he was assaulted. "They said I assaulted him and obstructed him from doing his job," Carnegay told WSB-TV. Carnegay was treated for his injuries and then taken to jail, where he stayed for three days. 

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"Somebody could have come up to him and said, 'Excuse me, sir, do you have [a] receipt for that tomato?' and he would've shown him the receipt," Carnegay's attorney Craig Jones told the news station. "The officer went into Robocop mode and beat the crap out of him."

Carnegay, who now has a titanium rod in his leg and walks with a limp, has named Wal-Mart, the manager on duty and the officer in a recently filed lawsuit.

A representative from Wal-Mart told WSB-TV that it had not been served the lawsuit, but added, "We take the matter seriously. We will review the allegations and respond appropriately with the court."

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The Atlanta Police Department told the news station that it is "aware of a 2014 video between an off-duty Atlanta police officer and an alleged shoplifter at a Wal-Mart. The city has not been served with a lawsuit and a complaint was not filed with the APD's Office of Professional Standards."

The APD said that it is reviewing the incident but that the video doesn't tell the whole story.

Read more at WSB-TV.