G4S Defends Future Mass Murder As Victim of Hostile Work Environment
Whether or not G4S has any responsibility in the Pulse terrorist attack, G4S certainly has responsibility for securing their own customers. New reports covering Omar Mateen's G4S record at a Florida courthouse and retirement community indicate G4S failed to do so.
G4S Executive Drew Levine [link no longer available] went to the Florida retirement community that G4S had stationed the now mass murder to try calm the understandably nervous residents. Excellent reporting from the TCPalm captured G4S' explanation:
Mateen told his superiors he was the target of inflammatory comments from co-workers because of his Islamic faith, Levine said. The interview, Levine said, took place shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings, which was carried out by two Islamic extremist brothers. Levine said Mateen claimed his co-workers on one occasion asked him what suicide vest he was wearing on a particular day.
G4S concluded Mateen worked in a hostile environment and did not fire him, Levine said. [Emphasis Added IPVM]
At the very least, that is an awkward way to frame a management decision for an employee who went on to become the worst mass shooter in modern US history.
Threatened to Kill Sheriff's Deputy
Especially interesting is what Mateen said in his part of this 'hostile environment'. According to the Sheriff, it was Mateen's threat to kill the Sheriff's deputy, among other statements:
A deputy at the courthouse mentioned the Middle East to Mateen, who reacted by threatening the deputy, said Sheriff Ken Mascara, who attended the Wednesday night meeting at the community's Island Club.
"Omar became very agitated and made a comment that he could have al-Qaida kill my employee and his family," Mascara said Wednesday. "If that wasn't bad enough, he followed it up with very disturbing comments about women and followed it up with very disturbing comments about Jews and then went on to say that the Fort Hood shooter was justified in his actions." [Emphasis Added IPVM]
A source present at the meeting confirmed that G4S acknowledged management knowing about those threats, including killing the deputy sheriff, in 2013.
Demoted to Retirement Community
Not surprisingly, the Courthouse wanted Mateen out immediately, as an NBC report confirmed:
Those remarks prompted courthouse officials to request Mateen's immediate removal from the St. Lucie County Courthouse, and to make "the appropriate notifications to inform our federal partners," including the FBI, according to county Sheriff Ken Mascara.
G4S did immediately transfer Mateen to the PGA gated retirement community, where the spokesman said he sat in a kiosk and checked the IDs of visitors.
The G4S spokesman said that even while Mateen technically could still carry a weapon for the firm, and probably had one in his company car, the shift was from an armed position to one considered unarmed. [Emphasis Added IPVM]
So G4S effectively demoted Mateen in the transfer to the retirement community, PGA Village.
Also, despite G4S knowing Mateen's history, G4S did not inform PGA Village of this, according to a source at that meeting.
It is hard for us to see G4S responsible, even indirectly, for the Pulse murders. Even if they fired him in 2013, that would not have stopped Mateen from shooting anyone in the future.
But G4S is clearly responsible for and to their customers. That they continued to employee someone they knew threatened to kill a Sheriff's Deputy is hard to defend. That they stationed him at a retirement community, without even informing or getting sign-off from the client, is similarly hard to defend.
If you are a customer or prospect for G4S's services, it is important to carefully factor in these actions in your review of their suitability.