SF Embarcadero Center security guard suspended, accused of profiling pair of shoppers

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Saturday, March 16, 2024
SF Embarcadero Center security guard accused of profiling 2 shoppers
A San Francisco Embarcadero Center security guard is suspended and accused of profiling a pair of shoppers.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Cell phone video captured the confrontation.

On Wednesday, shopper Ameer Ali told the Embarcadero security guard, "Have a conversation with me. Please tell me what's going on."

SECURITY GUARD: "Hey, I know what you're gonna do."

AMEER ALI: "What am I gonna do?"

SECURITY GUARD: "You're gonna steal, come on."

AMEER ALI: "No, I'm not"


AMEER ALI: "You have no reason to think that at all."

VIDEO: Video shows how incident unfolded with SF security guard Mike Koppel

Video shows how events unfolded when a San Francisco security guard at Embarcadero Center interacted with two shoppers on Wednesday.

That security guard at San Francisco's Embarcadero Center shopping plaza has been suspended because of this incident. He told two young men not to go into a store, because he supposedly knew they were going to steal. I-Team reporter Dan Noyes has been digging into this incident since one of the young men posted that video on Reddit, and he has some exclusive information.

The two young men tell the I-Team that they feel they were profiled for no reason. They also say the guard flashed a sidearm and an inspector's badge from the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

Twenty-four-year-old Nicholas Kincaid and 22-year-old Ameer Ali work at a high-fashion boutique near the Embarcadero Center. During a break, Kincaid wanted to pick up some supplies from the Sephora there.

"We just wanted to, you know, I wanted to get a scalp scrubber for myself," Nicholas Kincaid said. "We were talking about beauty products all day, pretty much just discussing, like what we needed."

They first tried the inside door; it was blocked. So, they walked around to the street-side entrance where a security guard told them not to enter the store.

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SECURITY GUARD: "This is private property, okay?"

AMEER ALI: "Okay, and what have I done so far? Do you want to let me know?"

SECURITY GUARD: "I'm telling 'ya, you're going to go in and steal."

AMEER ALI: "How do you know that? How do you know that?"

SECURITY GUARD: "I've been around a long time."

AMEER ALI: "No answer. You have no answer at all."

SECURITY GUARD: "I've been around a long time."

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The shoppers spoke to the I-Team Friday.

DAN NOYES: "The first time he says, 'Don't go in there, because I know you're going to steal.' What goes through your mind?"

AMEER ALI: "I know what time it is. I know what's going on. I mean, we've heard about this a million times, so I immediately just start firing back and trying to get anything out of him to prove that he has something to stand on. Because I know in my heart of hearts is absolutely nothing there."

They tell us they questioned whether the guard even worked at the Embarcadero. They thought he might be a vigilante.

NICHOLAS KINCAID: "Do you even work at this-"

SECURITY GUARD: "Pardon me?"

NICHOLAS KINCAID: "Do you work at this property?"



SECURITY GUARD: "I'm building security."

NICHOLAS KINCAID: "Can I see like any documentation that you work here?"


NICHOLAS KINCAID: "Can I see, like, any documentation that you work here?"

SECURITY GUARD: "Well, I can show you- I can show you this."

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While it's just off-camera, you can see the guard lift his jacket a bit. The two shoppers say he revealed his sidearm that is visible a few seconds later.

"And he lifts his shirt and shows me a Glock," Kincaid said. "And I'm like, well, that doesn't really, that doesn't really help the situation right now. I don't need to see a weapon. Now I just feel threatened."

NICHOLAS KINCAID: "I can show you this -- my ID."

And the guard briefly showed a badge: a retired lieutenant inspector's shield from the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. Starting there, the I-Team called law enforcement sources who identified the guard as 72-year-old Mike Koppel. He worked for the Marin County Sheriff's Department and then retired from the San Francisco DA's Office in 2007. Her staff says District Attorney Brooke Jenkins would not comment on the incident because "this matter is under investigation by the Special Prosecutions Unit of our office. The person seen in this video is not a current employee."

The owner of the Embarcadero complex, Boston Properties, emailed us that they "are working with the third party security partner to conduct a full investigation into the incident. In the meantime, the security officer has been removed from our property, pending the results of the investigation."

Koppel did not return our calls, texts and emails for comment. Ali and Kincaid tell us they went shopping in Sephora anyway.

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AMEER ALI: "Okay, so we're gonna go inside now because you have no reason to stop us."

MIKE KOPPEL: "Alright, you go in. You steal."

And they came out to find an SFPD officer waiting at the door, but they just walked by and returned to work.

Both say they never saw Mike Koppel before that altercation. Dan Noyes spoke with several people in law enforcement and security guard training, and they said what happened could be a real problem for Mike Koppel. We'll tell you when the investigation is over and what it concludes.

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