Racial profiling? Teens thought to be shoplifters locked in a store in a mistaken identity case

January 09, 2020 at 01:00 pm | News

Ama Nunoo

Ama Nunoo | Staff Writer

January 09, 2020 at 01:00 pm | News

Photo: The black detour

Racial profiling is a common problem people of color deal with in North America. For adults, racial profiling takes a big toll on them, so imagine being racially profiled as a teenager.

A Virginia father is seeking justice for his daughter and her friends after they were wrongfully locked up in a beauty supply store in Chesapeake, Virginia for a crime they didn’t commit, 10 Wavy.com reports.

“My daughter and her friends won’t ever forget about that, so I just think that’s wrong,” said Reubin Houston.

According to the Police, the case at the Coco Beauty Supply store in the Park View Shopping Center was a reaction to another incident that had occurred on December 28.

The alleged perpetrators, Photo: 10 Wavy- TV

On the said date, another group of girls stole merchandise worth $1000 and in a bid to catch the perpetrators, the store owner had their photos printed off the surveillance tape and distributed it to nearby businesses to be on the lookout for them.

However, Houston’s 16-year-old daughter and three of her friends went to the nearby Subway at the same shopping center and noticed they were being tailed by a security guard.

Houston added they dashed to the beauty supply store a few shops away and not long after as they were buying a hairbrush, the manager locked the girls inside.

“My daughter asked them, ‘Why? why can’t we leave?’ She says you’ll find out,” Houston said about the girls’ interaction with the manager.

The Chesapeake Police responded to a call and 10 mins later arrived at the scene to interrogate the girls. They then realized they had nothing to do with the previous shoplifting incidence and let them go.

“I’m personally thinking everybody is going to be a suspect if you have braids and weave and you’re black.

“I mean, even the kids are suspects now. I guess mine was,” said Houston who believes this is a case of racial profiling and has since filed a report with the police.

10 Wavy spoke with the beauty supply store’s manager who locked the girls inside the store. The manager said a Subway employee was the one who alerted the security about the girls because they looked like the suspects from the shoplifting case.

The manager has since apologized claiming she only acted based on instructions from the security guard.

This is a classic case of ‘he said, she said’, because the security guard also denies telling the manager to lock the door, 10 Wavy reports. He admitted getting involved only after a Subway employee called him and he alerted the police.

To authenticate his claims, the security guard provided the news station with a photo of a written statement from the Subway employee.

The statement read, “Served the girls then security brought us a picture of the suspects, noticed one was sitting eating and alerted security and dialed 911.”

Nonetheless, a spokesperson for the police said the girls shouldn’t have been locked in the store. Currently, the police are working in tandem with the commonwealth attorney to see if abduction charges could be brought.

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