SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A security guard accused of using excessive force on a homeless man appeared in court on Thursday.
Michael Johnson, 23, was arraigned in Sacramento County court. Johnson was appointed a public defender during his arraignment.
The victim remains in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.
“This is the end result for something; had he been patrolling another site, he wouldn’t be here,” said Shirelle Williams, Johnson’s mother.
Her son is behind bars, but she says he’s not the one to blame. Williams says her son quit his security job two weeks ago because he felt unsafe at work.
“He complained about it not being safe for him, that other security guards have been assaulted,” Williams said.
According to Williams, her son’s employer, Monument Security Firm, hired him back under the premise he would be transferred from the Safeway at 19th and R streets; that Safeway is where Johnson allegedly slammed a transient man to the ground on Tuesday during an altercation.
Johnson spoke to CBS 13 during a jailhouse interview stating his side.
“He was being belligerent, he was talking to himself, he was yelling,” said Johnson, behind bars.
Williams says her son was defending himself.
“He was only trained for 2 hours, his training consisted of walking through the store and getting people out, he had no pepper spray, no taser,” Williams added.
“The question is did he act reasonable?” said Criminal defense attorney Alin Cintean.
He says it’s rare for a security guard to be arrested for using excessive force while on the job. Cintean says security guards receive limited training, but know they can be civilly and criminally liable for their actions.
“It’s a far, far cry from the training police officers receive,” said Cintean.
Cintean adds security guards only have the same protections as private citizens, not the police.
In a case where self-defense may have gone too far, Johnson’s family is adamant he was just doing his job.
“He’s not a police officer, but he is in a position where he needs to make it home to his son,” Williams said.
Cintean says Johnson could face a manslaughter charge if the victim dies.
CBS13 reached out to Johnson’s employer Thursday, but they declined to comment.
Johnson will be back in court Nov. 6.