‘Fire them’ – Black family accused of stealing lemons at grocery store requests

Mohammed Awal March 20, 2020
Image credit: ABS

A black family is outraged for being debased and subjected to crude racial profiling by a California grocery store employee. The incident which was filmed showed a WinCo Foods employee located in Pittsburg, California, who claimed to be the supervisor of the grocery, stalking Deja Patterson, 24, her mother and her cousin.

The man who could be seen at some point body-arming the family accused them of stealing lemons saying “at this point, we’re refusing service because you’re trying to steal.”

“We reserve the right … we’re not selling to you,” the employee stressed.

The supervisor further threatened to call the police on the family for “acting crazy” as well as causing a disturbance.

Sharing the disturbing footage on Instagram, Patterson denied ever stealing lemons, stating that the treatment meted out to them was as a result of their skin color.

“Tonight March 16 at WINCO IN PITTSBURG, my mom, cousin & I were RACIALLY PROFILED, FOLLOWED, HARASSED & ASSAULTED by Kenny (who would not reveal his last name),” she wrote in the Instagram post.

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Patterson and her family were at the grocery store to get essential needs after the Pittsburg county was placed under a shelter-in-place lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak.

“Grocery stores here are scarce, we knew that going to WinCo, we would find most likely what we need. We had called WinCo actually beforehand and they had told us that they were fully stocked so that is why we went there,” Patterson told  MadameNoire.

MadameNoire reported that security admitted into the store, they visited the produce section but were unable to locate clear plastic produce bags. They then asked a worker in the produce section if there were any bags, to which he responded no, forcing them to improvise and decided to use a bag for grapefruits, by dumping the fruit into its section. 

After filling the empty grapefruit bag with lemons, the same worker informed them all of a sudden that they would have to walk to the back of the store and retrieve a produce bag.

As they complied and gathered their lemons, they were approached by an employee named Kenny, who later introduced himself as the store manager and accused them of stealing.

“When he came from behind us, he immediately swarmed in and stuck his hand directly in our cart, and rummaged through the rest of our groceries that were in our full basket and removed the lemons, saying immediately, ‘You guys are stealing and lost prevention has called this in and you have to leave,” Patterson said.

“He did not even introduce himself at all. We knew nothing of what position he was, who he was, where he came from if he was loss prevention, nothing,” she added.

Speaking to ABS, Patterson said she planned to sue for accountability and apology and that she had gotten in touch with the WinCo corporate.

“The correct response, I think, would be to have Kenny and the other gentleman fired and to have better training going forward because this doesn’t have to happen again,” she added.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: March 20, 2020


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