A UNM graduate has accused Brick Light District security guards of racial profiling and battery.
An APD report confirms that Xavier Vera was in a “physical altercation” with a security guard on July 6 in the Brick Light District on his way to Satellite Coffee, on the corner of Central and Harvard Avenue.
According to Vera, the incident began when he parked his car at the Brick Light District and saw security guard Marshall Brumlow yelling at an elderly homeless woman, ordering her to leave the property.
As the woman began to cry, Vera said he asked Brumlow why he was mistreating her.
According to Vera, Brumlow then told him “you get out of my property too,” and Vera responded by stating that he was a regular customer of Satellite and that Brumlow “did not have the right to kick him out.”
However, according to Vera, Brumlow also threatened to boot Vera’s car and then called someone on the phone, later identified as security guard Robert Garcia.
Garcia is the owner of Q Gear Security LLC, which is contracted by Sperry Van Ness Commercial Brokerage, the company that owns the Brick Light District.
Vera said Brumlow told Garcia over the phone, “There is a Middle Eastern-looking young male with an accent who doesn’t want to leave the property.”
Vera said he is an American-Peruvian citizen.
The police officer who filed the report said “Mr. Vera stated he felt the incident was racially driven. He told me Marshall was on the phone with someone and began to physically describe Mr. Vera. Marshall made the comment that Mr. Vera was of Middle Eastern descent. Mr. Vera believed that was unnecessary. I explained to Mr. Vera that Marshall was just explaining his physical description, and according to Mr. Vera’s statement nothing was racially motivated.”
The motive disputed between Vera and APD.
Brumlow is directly employed by the Brick Light District, as both a security guard and maintenance man. Vera claimed that he also often openly carries a firearm.
“Brumlow asked me for my name, closed my car’s trunk and reported my license plate,” Vera states in the report. “I asked him to speak with me maturely. He (Brumlow) said, ‘I’m f---ing twice your age and I can take you down.’”
Vera said Brumlow then posed in a guarded stance and said, “Move and I will take you down.”
Vera said he left the Brick Light District at Brumlow’s insistence and parked his car off the property. After waiting a half-hour, Vera returned to the Brick Light District, saw that Brumlow was no longer there, entered the shop and talked to a Satellite employee.
“She offered me food as an apology for the way I was treated at the shop. She said I could park and stay at the shop. Approximately at 5:00 p.m. I took my car back to the shop, saw Brumlow again and noticed another security guard had shown up,” Vera said.
The second security guard, Paul Stacy, who also works for Q Gear LLC, first told Vera to leave the property, then chased him inside Satellite, holstering a gun. Vera said Stacy had apparently received orders from Garcia.
“We entered the shop. He told me he was instructed to take me out of the property. I asked the Satellite employee if I could stay. She said yes, I could stay,” Vera said.
Vera states that Stacy then “hit and grabbed” him by the arms and started to drag him from the shop. Vera broke lose and ordered Stacy “not to touch” him.
According to Vera, the shop’s manager intervened in stopping the incident, and employees helped Vera report the incident to Satellite management.
The APD report states, “Mr. Vera said he was able to pull away at which time the manager on duty advised the security guard to cease his actions. Mr. Vera was allowed to stay at the coffee shop without further incident.”
As a result of the incident, Vera suffered a bruised left upper arm, according to Satellite’s report of the incident.
APD’s report states, “Mr. Vera did not call the police when the incident took place and I advised him that officers will not be able to enforce action at this time.”
The American Civil Liberties Union defines racial profiling as, “When law enforcement and private security target people of color for humiliating and often frightening detentions, interrogations and searches without evidence of criminal activity and based on perceived race, ethnicity, national origin or religion. Racial profiling is patently illegal, violating the U.S. Constitution’s core promises of equal protection under the law.”
Vera said he felt this incident qualified as one of those instances.
“I felt that my physical and mental integrity were affected by their actions. I felt my life was at risk, too. Hadn’t Satellite Coffee’s manager intervened, Paul could have used his gun. I felt assaulted, battered and discriminated against,” he said. “This was clearly a racial profiling incident. I am a UNM alum and go to that coffee shop regularly to study.”
A Satellite representative said Q Gear, LLC and Brumlow do not have the authority to remove desired customers from Satellite Coffee. Moreover, the actions made by the Brick Light District security guards have nothing to do with the coffee shop.
The security guards represent Sperry Van Ness Commercial Brokerage, not Satellite Coffee, the representative said.
The question still remains as to why Brick Light District security did not respond to Satellite Coffee’s request for Vera to stay at the shop.
Vera said he had a very hard time figuring out who is responsible for the security guards’ oversight and said his efforts have been met with hostility. He also said people at the coffee shop addressed this incident professionally, filled out an incident report and provided him with the name of Brumlow’s supervisor.
They also gave him Garcia’s number but told him they didn’t know the name of his security company, he said.
When Vera called Q Gear, LLC, he was told by Garcia that Garcia “reserves the right to take unwanted people out of his property.” That statement is allegedly not congruent with what Satellite management told Vera.
“I called Garcia and he didn’t seem interested in meeting, so I warned him about the legal consequence of the incident. I told him I was injured, too. He told me, ‘You didn’t get injured,’ and hung up the phone. I called him again and told him hanging up the phone was disrespectful,” Vera said. “He hung up the phone again.”
Vera also alleged that Brumlow has been accused of harassing employees and other customers in the Brick Light District, and has been protected so far by Sperry Van Ness Commercial Brokerage.
Satellite Coffee General Manager Cheyenna Aragon said she does not condone the actions made by the Q Gear security guards and emphasized that they are not employed by Satellite.
“Satellite is not connected to the security involved in any way and always works to create a safe and fun space for students and neighbors to commune and enjoy our coffee,” Aragon said.
Vera was able to determine that Brumlow was removed from the patrol of Satellite Coffee but is still employed by Q Gear, LLC and works in the Brick Light District.
No more action has been taken by Sperry Van Ness Commercial Brokerage, and both Garcia and Stacy are still employed by the company.
According to the Satellite representative and Vera, Brumlow can no longer disturb patrons of Satellite but still patrols the adjacent area. Brumlow is still able to guard the sidewalks, Brick Light District parking lots and the neighborhood.
Vera said he has been working with an attorney and plans to pursue legal action.
He also said he wants UNM students to be aware of the security guards that patrol the Brick Light District.
“Other customers and employees run the risk of being victims of the same abuses if Brumlow, Garcia, and Stacy keep patrolling the area. Unfortunately, Satellite Coffee doesn’t have control over the security guards on site,” Vera said. “I think it will be difficult to promote such safe environment as long as Q Gear Security, LLC is employed in that location.”
The Daily Lobo has attempted but has been unable to reach out to Sperry Van Ness Commercial Brokerage for comment.
The Daily Lobo would like to talk to other members of the community who have been subjected to or have been witness to similar incidents in the Brick Light District. Contact the Daily Lobo at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonathan Natvig is a freelance news reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Natvig99.