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Two Employees Resign After Cell Phone Video Shows Black Woman Placed in Choke Hold

Nick de la Canal / WFAE
Missha Beauty Supply on Wilkinson Blvd.

The manager of a west Charlotte beauty store and his wife have resigned after cell phone video surfaced last week showing them striking an African-American woman, throwing her to the ground, twisting her arm, and placing her in a choke hold.

Cell phone footage of the altercation was first broadcast by WBTV, and was later picked up by several other news outlets.

In the video, an unidentified woman is heard telling 45-year-old Sung Ho Lim, the manager, "Check my bag. I don't have anything." Soon after, Lim and the woman begin pushing each other, and moments later, Lim kicks the woman, shoves her to the ground, and puts her in a choke hold. Lim's wife, standing behind her husband, twists the woman's arm behind her head.

According to a police report filed by Lim on Thursday afternoon, the woman was attempting to steal eyelashes.

Reached by phone Monday, Lim expressed deep remorse for the incident. "I overacted, I'm very sorry, and I apologize," he said to WFAE, adding that he was "scared" and was now "in hiding."

Lim said he would like to apologize to the woman face-to-face if he knew who she was or where to find her.

According to three store employees who spoke with WFAE on the condition of anonymity, Missha Beauty is regularly targeted by thieves, and just minutes prior to the filmed altercation on Thursday, a different woman had grabbed a fistful of merchandise, running off before store employees could respond.

A small group of protesters gathered outside the store over the weekend and on Monday calling for people to boycott Missha and redirect their business to black-owned beauty supply stores.

A woman who would only identify herself as "Mrs. B" told reporters Monday afternoon she was upset by the video after first viewing it Friday night.

"It could have been me, my sister, my mom, my cousin," she said, "It could have been any of us."

The woman called on Lim and his wife to be arrested and convicted of assault. "Anybody that thinks that they can literally, physically assault you and it be okay and they come back, business as usual -- I have a problem with that," she said.

Requests for comment directed to Missha's owner in Chicago were not immediately returned.

Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal