BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) Lou Orlando, the head of security at a Buffalo Target store for 14 years, no longer has his job. The company says he did not follow safety procedures during an unexpected incident on the biggest shopping day of the year.
He spoke to Channel 7's Jaclyn Asztalos Wednesday morning exclusively about the situation.
The video of the scene at the North Buffalo Target store on Black Friday 2010 went viral, showing the race for the best deals that turned into a shoving match with people being trampled on the floor.
Lou Orlando told Channel 7, "From the time the first person fell, to the time we got the last person up, it was :53 seconds. I watched enough video to know, but it was the longest :53 seconds of my life."
Lou Orlando was the head of security for the store during the incident, but after a week long investigation, Orlando was fired. Orlando told Eyewitness News that Target officials said he didn't follow certain procedures.
"Because I didn't make certain phone calls in the correct amount of time...you make a call to corporate to call people who need to know in our district that something has happened," Orlando noted as a possible reason for his dismissal.
But Orlando says after the incident he couldn't make calls, because he still had hundreds of customers shopping. He wanted to stay on the floor to make sure nothing else went wrong. Orlando also alleges that Target said Orlando didn't follow the correct procedure, using barricades to stop what he called "line crashers."
Orlando said, "I understand their point of view, but I totally disagree with their point of view. After the incident, the video went national, being shown on media outlets across the country. Orlando says because of this, he was used as a scapegoat for the company."
He continued, "It put pressure on Target. They were, OK we have to do something. Really all that is saying is that they did something wrong...so let's get rid of Lou. What's that going to do?"
Orlando says Target also cut funding to certain stores for paid police patrol so authorities were not on the scene...and Orlando is not trained in crowd control...so he says he made the best decision he could, with what resources he had.
He concluded, "I think I did a darn good job. What more can one man do."
Target couldn't comment on the firing, but they did sent out a statement about the trampling incident.
"The safety of our guests and team members is a top priority. We take this incident very seriously. Target plans well in advance of Black Friday and employs numerous crowd management tactics to prevent incidents. We continually analyze and improve those plans, and will do so in this case, to help ensure a safe and enjoyable shopping experience."
Eyewitness News will continue to follow this story.