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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A South Memphis gas station clerk is charged with false imprisonment and aggravated assault after police say he locked customers inside the store and attacked one of them with a meat tenderizer.

The victim, who doesn’t want to be identified, said he had gone to the store at the corner of Lamar and South Bellevue to exchange a broken cigarette lighter he had bought days earlier. He says the clerk, Hareth Saleh, was hostile from the start.

“I’m, like, ‘Sir, calm down, it’s just a cigarette lighter,’ so he end up letting the n-word come out his mouth,” said the victim.

“He used the n-word, but I didn’t think that was a problem, but he used it a lot,” said a witness.
That’s when the victim says he and the clerk began fighting.

“Once he hit him, the dude fell on me and then they just started fighting,” the witness said.
But things took an even more serious turn when the victim says the clerk grabbed a meat tenderizer and began hitting him with that.

“He tried to hit me in my face, but I threw my arm up and my arm kind of, like, braced it,” said the victim.

The clerk eventually unlocked the doors and let other customers go, only to relock the store with the victim still inside. The victim said he then chased him around with the meat tenderizer some more before finally allowing him to leave.

He’s charged with aggravated assault, especially aggravated kidnapping and false imprisonment, but has since bonded out of jail.

“You want to talk to somebody, talk to my lawyer,” said Saleh when WREG approached him at the gas station Monday.

WREG didn’t see a lawyer listed for him in court records, but we did find a 2016 arrest for aggravated assault.

The victim wasn’t seriously injured but did sustain several cuts and had to miss three days of work.