A black family in California claim that they were racially profiled at a Nike store in Santa Monica when a white store manager accused them of stealing.
TaMiya Dickerson and Joel Stallworth took their 18-month old baby Sammy to the store at the Santa Monica Place shopping mall on 5 July, and they weren't planning on buying anything until their son picked up and started to carry around a Nike Swoosh Mini basketball.
The couple claim that they purchased the ball, and were just leaving the store as the manager approached them, followed them outside, and accused them of shoplifting, reports the Daily Mail.
Stalworth then reportedly explained to the manager that they had purchased the ball, and he continued to walk down the street. However, the manager reportedly didn't believe him and continued to follow him down the street, before flagging down Santa Monica police officers for help, reports the Mail.
The couple began filming the incident after three police officers arrived on the scene, and TaMiya Dickinson posted the video onto Facebook, with the caption:
In the video, TaMiya can be heard saying:
We just told you we bought this right here, in the Nike store in Santa Monica. We just told you we bought it.
What do you need the receipt for?
The manager then says:
Because we didn't have our basketball...
TaMiya then retorts:
What are you talking about?
So now you can refund his money and I want an apology. This is f****** ridiculous, and it's profiling!
She is an idiot.
She then continues:
What does it say on there? What does it say on there?
This is ridiculous. We purchased this basketball in the store!
We purchased this basketball in the store!
Dickerson can then be heard shouting:
I told her we paid for it! I told her we paid for it!
I told you I paid!
Speaking to KTLA about the situation, Stalworth said:
She had zero evidence that I stole anything. She couldn't have evidence because I bought it. She discriminated against me
She planted an evil seed in the officer, so as soon as the officer came up to me, he said: 'Sir, give me the stolen ball.'
Stalworth and Dickerson hired a lawyer in response to the 'humiliating' experience. Speaking to the Daily Mail, their attorney Stephen King said:
What we're hoping to do is to get Nike to have some sort of understanding and meeting of the minds to find out if this was an isolated act, or is this something that is more pervasive within the society of the employees that they hire.
In a statement to NSBC News, Nike reached out to the couple, and wanted to express their "deepest apologies". In a statement, they said:
We are taking the recent situation at our Santa Monica store very seriously, and we are currently investigating the facts.
We will continue to work with our teams to ensure we deliver on our expectations for consumer experiences.
HT Daily Mail