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Beacon grocery settles suit two years after assault
The owners of the Key Food grocery store on Main Street in Beacon paid $95,000 earlier this month to settle a civil suit stemming from an assault in the store two years ago.
Alvin C. Medina Jr., of Beacon, filed a lawsuit in March 2020 naming Key Food manager Moufaq “Mo” Dabashi and his brother, Emad Dabashi, after Emad Dabashi slammed Medina to the floor inside the store following a confrontation.
The assault, which was captured in security camera footage and recently posted by Medina on social media, came about two hours after employees called Beacon police to the store when Medina began cursing loudly and threatened Emad Dabashi, who was an employee at the time.
According to court documents, Medina and his mother entered the store around 3:15 p.m. on March 2, 2020. While his mother waited in a checkout line, Medina walked to the deli counter, where Emad Dabashi was working. Medina asked if Dabashi would mix two premade salads in one container.
Dabashi said he could not, because the salads were priced differently. Medina responded with a vulgarity and made an obscene gesture before walking away, according to court documents.
Dabashi followed Medina to the checkout line and told him to leave the store. Medina continued shouting, cursing and “muttering to himself” that he was going to punch Dabashi, court documents said.
The police were called to the store, but, according to the incident report, Medina left before officers arrived. Medina returned to the store alone shortly after 5 p.m. the same day. Before returning, according to court documents, he drank at least one bottle of beer and took prescription medication for depression and high blood pressure.
Inside, Medina walked to the dairy aisle and picked up a half-gallon of milk. Upon seeing him, Emad Dabashi told him that he was not allowed in the store. “I don’t want you here,” he said.
Medina ignored Dabashi and walked past him, keeping his left hand in his coat pocket, which Mo Dabashi and Emad Dabashi later said in depositions led them to believe Medina may have been carrying a weapon.
A 20-second clip from the security video shows Mo Dabashi attempting to take the milk jug from Medina, who responds by throwing it on the floor, where it burst open. Emad Dabashi, who was walking behind Medina, immediately picked him up and slammed him, face-first, to the floor, where he lay motionless.
Key Food employees called the Beacon police again. According to the incident report, Medina suffered a cut around his eyebrow. The officers attempted to question him, but “had a difficult time understanding [him] due to his speech and appearing to be under the influence of alcohol.”
The Beacon Volunteer Ambulance Corps took Medina to Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh to have his eyebrow stitched.
Asked by officers if they wanted to press charges against Medina, the brothers declined. But Emad, 26 at the time, was arrested and charged with second-degree assault. He pleaded guilty to third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to three years of probation. He said in a deposition that he acted in self-defense but conceded that, based on the video, “everyone doesn’t see it that way.”
Medina’s lawsuit, filed four days later, alleged that Key Food, the parent company, and Alameda Meat Corp., the franchise that owns the Beacon store, failed to properly train and supervise its workers. The attack left Medina with “serious, severe and permanent personal injuries, causing him to become and remain sick, sore, lame and disabled, causing him great pain and agony” and “preventing him from enjoying the normal fruits of his activities,” it said.
A hearing had been scheduled in Dutchess County Supreme Court for this week before the settlement was reached.
Junior Dabashi, one of the store owners and Mo and Emad Dabashi’s brother, said on Wednesday (March 23) that the incident was out of character for his family.
“What my brother did was wrong,” he said. “But it happened because of all the other problems we’d had all day with [Medina]. We don’t have these problems [normally]. We respect every single person. We’re here for everybody.”
The settlement was paid by Alameda’s insurance company, he said.