A row over a shopkeeper ‘strangling’ a woman deepened today after his store was covered in signs, with one saying: ‘Parasitic merchants out of our community’.
Sohail Sindho, 45, owner of Peckham Hair and Cosmetics in South East London, has been quizzed by police over the fracas that sparked protests outside his shop.
Mr Sindho said he ‘regrets’ the scuffle – footage of which was shared on social media – but insisted that he did not choke the woman. He appeared to put his hands around her throat in the video amid claims she was trying to steal from his store.
The shopkeeper said he refused the woman a refund on some products before an argument broke out and she attempted to take items from the shelves and leave.
Now, as protests continue, his store has been covered in paper and cardboard signs with phrases including ‘black women matter’ and ‘black women deserve better’.
Scotland Yard said a man aged 45 was interviewed under caution over the incident. A 31-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of assault has now been released on bail.
An angry crowd yesterday blocked the road and anti-racism campaigners protested at what they claimed was an ‘example of everyday male violence against women’.
One of the lead protesters was a rapper called Raspect Rebellion, real name Khari McKenzie, who claimed the woman is a hair stylist and regularly visited the store.
Now Mr Sindho has spoken out about the incident – with ITV London reporter Antoine Allen putting to him the criticism he had received for having ‘choked her’.
Dramatic footage shows a scuffle between Sohail Sindho and a woman in a row over a refund at Peckham Hair and Cosmetics on Rye Lane in South East London on Monday
The store is now covered in signs, with one saying: ‘Parasitic merchants out of our community’
Protesters have plastered the storefront with notes criticising the shopkeeper’s actions
Sohail Sindho, 45, owner of Peckham Hair and Cosmetics, spoke out to protest his innocence
Mr Sindho said: ‘No, I didn’t. It looks like I am choking her. It’s not choking. At the moment one hand was at the back, I was like detaining her.’
What has the Peckham shopkeeper said about ‘strangling’ incident?
- ITV London presenter Antoine Allen: ‘Many people are saying that you shouldn’t have choked her.’
- Shopkeeper Sohail Sindho: ‘No, I didn’t. It looks like I am choking her… It’s not choking. At the moment one hand was at the back, I was like detaining her.’
- AA: ‘If you could go back in time to before this incident, would you act exactly the same?’
- SS: ‘No, I won’t behave the same. I’d just want to keep her inside. It wasn’t intentional, like, just get her round her neck randomly.’
- AA: ‘If that was your daughter or wife, how would you react?’
- SS: ‘I would react the same way that people are reacting. That same thing is like, what, that second moment I need to think about, being as a man or something, I should ask my daughter, what you have done, have you done something?’
- AA: ‘For the people that are angry and passionate about what they’re seeing in that video, do you have any regrets.’
- SS: ‘I have regrets, that’s why I’m talking to you. These are my regrets. When I told the police officer I don’t want to press charges, these are the regrets at that time.’
Mr Allen asked him whether he would act in the same way if he could go back in time to before the incident.
The shopkeeper replied: ‘No, I won’t behave the same. I’d just want to keep her inside. It wasn’t intentional, like, just get her round her neck randomly.’
He was also asked how he would have reacted if it was his daughter or wife in the video.
And Mr Sindho said: ‘I would react the same way that people are reacting. That same thing is like, what, that second moment I need to think about, being as a man or something, I should ask my daughter, what you have done, have you done something?’
Asked if he had any regrets, Mr Sindho added: ‘I have regrets, that’s why I’m talking to you. These are my regrets. When I told the police officer I don’t want to press charges, these are the regrets at that time.’
The video, posted on Instagram, starts with Mr Sindho standing behind the woman as they grip on to each other while a person behind the camera threatens to call the police.
The woman hits him over the head with a plastic shopping basket after he appears to put his hands around her neck.
She then yells ‘call the police’ as she claims he strangled her but he refuses to let go.
Detective Chief Superintendent Seb Adjei-Addoh, local policing commander for Southwark, said: ‘I would like to thank local people for their patience as we work to establish the full circumstances around the allegations made.
‘We continue to examine various clips of footage that depict small sections of the wider incident and are working to establish what offences were committed and by whom.
‘My officers will be patrolling Rye Lane today to provide reassurance to the community – I know that this incident will cause concern and I urge anyone who is worried to speak with their local policing team or with officers on patrol.’
Edilenny Douteo, 18, who filmed the video, said the pair were ‘shouting at each other from the beginning’. She told The Mirror: ‘She was asking for a refund and they told her that is not possible.
‘So she went to the shop and she told them that if you’re not gonna get my refund, I want to get what I’m supposed to get for my money.’
Ms Douteo, recalling the incident, claimed that when the woman tried to leave the worker ‘pushed her out’ and became ‘aggressive’.
She alleged that afterwards he ‘strangled her very, very badly’ and ‘dragged her into the shop’. Ms Douteo added that the woman had tried to ‘take him away from her but she couldn’t’.
An angry crowd yesterday blocked the road in South East London following the incident
Angry protesters taped notes to the shop slamming the incident and the woman’s arrest
The witness told the newspaper she saw the encounter but only started recording after things escalated. She said she didn’t think the man was going to do anything to the woman because ‘she’s a woman’ and was smaller than him.
Musician and security guard Raspect Rebellion, who was one of the protest organisers, told MailOnline yesterday: ‘I’m here because a shopkeeper strangled a woman and we don’t accept any strangulation of any woman.
‘As someone who is SIA (Security Industry Authority) trained, that is not part of our training. We are meant to detain people safely and never put hands round the neck.
‘I’ve done football stadiums, I’ve done nightclubs, I’ve done festivals. I’ve had to escort people out of places and I’ve always used their arm and their body. Never has my hand gone to their neck.’
He added that the woman involved in the incident is a hair stylist who has spent £100 a month at the store for 15 years.
Raspect added: ‘They said that she could come and exchange her item, if she buys it. She came to do that exchange and they said no refunds, no exchange. And then someone in the shop said she can exchange.
‘She picked up her item and left the item to exchange it. And on the way out the man tried to stop her, and in doing that he pushed her, and pushed her in the face which made her strike back.
‘And then he’s grabbed her by the neck which made her hit him with the basket as a reflex to having two hands grabbed around your neck.’
The video starts with Mr Sindho standing behind the woman as they grip on to each other
He grabs onto her neck as she tries to free herself by hitting him with the shopping basket
He added that he had been told the version of her events by the woman’s brother who had been at the scene yesterday.
Raspect also said that police had told him they would now arrest the shopkeeper, but this has not been confirmed.
He was wearing a stab vest and said he was providing security for the event, to ensure the safety of members of the community during the protest.
A large crowd gathered outside the shop in Rye Lane yesterday afternoon, which had already closed after news of the fight spread on social media.
Growing anger over the clip on social media led to calls for residents to boycott the shop and sparked a planned protest outside the shop at 2pm.
The store closed in advance and a crowd gathered around the area with people protesting what they see as an ‘example of everyday male violence against women’.
A small crowd initially gathered outside the shop with banners which steadily grew as bystanders joined in.
Growing anger over the clip on social media led to calls for residents to boycott the shop
A large crowd gathered in Rye Lane yesterday outside the shop which blocked the road
Growing anger over the clip on social media led to calls for residents to boycott the shop
Protesters were still there nearly two hours after the demonstration began, covering the road and pavement in Rye Lane.
DCS Adjei-Addoh 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.’
The Metropolitan Police said officers were called to the shop on Rye Lane at 1.16pm on Monday when it was reported that a 31-year-old woman attempted to steal items and an employee prevented her from leaving.
The woman was also accused of assault. She was arrested on suspicion of assault and later bailed pending further enquiries.
The force asked that anyone with any information about the incident calls 101 quoting CAD 3943/11Sep.