Four Black Teens Locked Inside Of A Virginia Beauty Supply Store After Being Racially Profiled
It's only January and Black girls are already being detained for #ShoppingWhileBlack.
January 09, 2020 at 4:03 pm
Four Black girls were wrongfully detained inside of a Chesapeake, Virginia, beauty supply store after the owner mistook them for thieves.
A 16-year-old girl and her friends headed to a nearby Subway to grab a bite to eat before walking over to Coco Beauty Supply, WAVY reports. One of the girls purchased a hairbrush before attempting to leave the store and realizing they were locked inside on Friday.
“My daughter asked them, ‘Why? why can’t we leave?’ She says you’ll find out,” parent Reubin Houston recalled.
The owner of the store alleges she detained the group of friends after mistaken them for some girls who stole more than $1,000 of merchandise on December 28.
Flyers with pictures of the original culprits were plastered in the area of the beauty supply store, including near the Subway sandwich shop.
While at the chain restaurant, the teens noticed a security guard following them. The manager of Coco Beauty Supply said a Subway employee called security after noticing the picture on the flyer.
"Served the girls then security brought us a picture of the suspects, noticed one was sitting eating and alerted security and dialed 911,” a statement from the employee read.
After being locked inside by a manager at the beauty supply store, Chesapeake Police arrived and investigated the claims.
Officers determined the 16-year-old and her friends were not involved in the robbery back in December and released them. However, the teen's father filed a police report claiming the group was racially profiled.
“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,” Houston said. “My daughter and her friends won’t ever forget about that.”
The manager apologized for mistaking the girls' identities and said she was instructed by the security guard to lock them inside.
The security guard denies telling the manager to lock the door. He said he was notified after the Subway employee contacted him and admitted to calling the police on the girls. The security guard also admitted to helping the store owner pass out the flyers.
A spokesperson for the police department said the girls shouldn't have been locked in the store and officers are looking into the possibility of abduction charges.
A Virginia law, however, states that a person can be detained for the maximum of one hour pending the arrival of police if there is probable cause for shoplifting.
This is the most recent case of shopping while Black. During the summer, a Black woman said she was shopping at an Old Navy in Ontario when an employee stopped her and accused her of stealing, as Blavity previously reported.
Back in 2018, a Black Maryland couple filed a lawsuit claiming they were racially profiled while shopping at a local Costco. They were told they "fit the description" of the shoplifters.