‘I was going to the Coinstar, just to cash some quarters’: Man says he was attacked, stabbed by Kroger security guard

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The man who said he was attacked by a security guard at Kroger is now suing for $1 million. In his own words Jason Ashley tells WHAS11’s Heather Fountaine what happened. 

“I just thought he was punching me at first until I saw the knife when it went across my face, and I realized my back felt wet and I reach back and my back was covered in blood,” said Jason Ashley, who said he was stabbed.

According to the lawsuit, Ashley was walking through the doors of Kroger on Dixie Highway. The store was closing early for the holiday, and Ashley said he walked in minutes before alongside other customers. 

“I was going to the Coinstar, just to cash some quarters,” Ashley explained. The lawsuit stated that “Jason politely informed Doe that it was not 9:00 p.m. yet… and that he would certainly be finished prior to the 9:00 p.m. closing time. Out of nowhere, [John] Griggs confronted Jason and told him: “you’re not going through me.”

Kroger security guard charged with assault after stabbing customer with pocket knife during argument

Ashley said he turned around to leave, but the security guard “continued to follow me and get in my face, and that’s when he reached up and grabbed me around my throat.”

Police arrested John Griggs. 63 and charged him with second degree assault. Police describe the surveillance video on the arrest slip, describing a heated argument and then Griggs grabbing Ashley’s neck.

“He bear hugged me and started beating on me,” Ashley said. “Ripped my earring out of my ear, and then there was a gash across my face, almost to my lip.”

“He was stabbed in the back, also,” Ashley’s attorney Marty Pohl described.

“Nobody should go into a place that feels like home and feel like they can be stabbed as a result of going there,” said Pohl. Ashley said no one would call 9-1-1, and he had to do it himself. 

Pohl is claiming negligence by the store for hiring Griggs who has a history of physical violence.

“It is alarming to see something like that,” he explained. Public court records show Griggs was charged after threatening a court witness in 2002. That same year, he was also accused of swinging a knife at a coworker. Both cases were dismissed.

“We’re trying to prevent incidents like this from happening again in the future,” Pohl said. Ashley hasn’t gone back to that Kroger and says he doesn’t know if he will ever return.

“I just don’t feel safe. My whole family lives in that area and I fear for their safety.” 

Kroger released this statement to WHAS11 News:

“The safety and security of our customers and our associates is our top priority and we would like thank LMPD for their quick response. We do not comment on pending litigation and are referring all inquiries the Louisville Metro Police Department.”

Griggs will appear again in court later this month.

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Kroger security guard charged with assault after stabbing customer with pocket knife during argument