WASHINGTON - A security guard at a Northeast D.C. Giant Food grocery store was arrested for assault Wednesday and accused of trying to stop a transgender woman from using the women's restroom in the store.
The incident happened as the customer, Eboni Belcher, was attempting to go inside the restroom. Once inside, the security guard, Francine Jones, reportedly followed the customer and used physical force to escort the customer out of the restroom, leading to an altercation.
The scuffle happened at around noon inside the store located in the 300 block of H Street. It was also captured on surveillance video, which police have reviewed before arresting the security guard.
Giant Food spokesperson Jamie Miller said in a statement:
"As this matter involves a third party that provides security services for Giant and there's an ongoing criminal investigation, all inquiries related to the incident at the H Street Giant should be directed to the local police for a comment at this time."
Joanna Cifredo of the National Center for Transgender Equality and a transgender woman herself said this incident should serve as another reminder that more education and dialogue is needed.
"Companies can take the initiative on training not just their staff, but any contractors that are employed with their company as well," said Cifredo. "Educating them on what the law is and that in their facilities, transgender people have the right to use the bathroom in accordance to their gender identity. Also, let them know that under no circumstance is it okay to physically attack customers."