Race & Identity
Black Man Handcuffed While Police Searched His Bags After Being Falsely Accused Of Stealing From Finish Line
Ro Lockett and his friends were held until the search cleared them.
An innocuous shopping trip took a turn for the worse when Ro Lockett was accused of theft at a Texas shopping center last Wednesday.
Lockett, a Black man, was at the mall in Frisco, Texas, with his 8 and 10-year-old sons and his friend, Brandon Kibart (who is white), when the two men were placed in handcuffs and accused of stealing $600 worth of merchandise from a Finish Line, according to The Dallas News.
According to Lockett, a Finish Line employee followed his family through the mall. After purchasing at another sporting goods store, he and Kibart were stopped by the police and handcuffed as law enforcement officials and a Finish Line employee searched their bags for stolen goods.
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The whole ordeal was captured on camera by one of Lockett’s sons. The father later uploaded the footage to YouTube.
Lockett captioned the video by describing the mishap, and emphasizing how the experience encapsulates the reality of being a Black man in America.
In the video's caption, Lockett wrote, "I stood handcuffed helplessly as my children, friend and myself were humiliated and victimized based on an assumption that we had stolen merchandise ... no discretion or consideration was given as we were approached and demanded to surrender our bags ... my 10 and eight year [old] sons, were searched as it was a 'given' we had stole from Finishline.”
Lockett and Kibart were able to prove to the officers they hadn't stolen anything, as they had kept all the receipts from the day's purchases. Police found the men had no Finish Line merchandise in their bags at all, Newsweek reports.
While Frisco's police department has not apologized for the incident, a spokesperson claimed it has reached out to the men to provide them with information about submitting a complaint against the department. The spokesperson also commended Lockett and Kibart for their cool heads.
"This incident highlights the importance of 'comply now, complain later,'" the department said. "By all accounts, it appears that this is what Mr. Lockett and Mr. Kibart have done, which gives us the opportunity to evaluate our response to determine what happened and if there is opportunity for improvement."
The local chapter of the NAACP has said it has reached out to help the father and his friend.
"We have attempted to reach officials from the Finish Line, as we are concerned that this is another case of 'existing while Black,'" the NAACP's statement read.
Both Lockett and Kibart have acquired legal representation. However, the father said he feels the damage has already been done.
“Our lives forever changed," Lockett wrote on YouTube. "My children's hurt and pain didn't and won't stop with the 'You're good to go now.'"
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