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Target fires employee that racially profiled Black customer

Michigan

Carol Ozemhoya| OW Contributor | 6/5/2018, 12:11 p.m.
Retailer Target fired an employee at a Michigan store on Monday, two weeks after...

Retailer Target fired an employee at a Michigan store on Monday, two weeks after a Black customer was falsely accused of stealing a bikini and then forced to remove her clothing to prove her innocence, according to her attorney, reports NBC News. Shanae Davis, 20, was exiting the Southfield, Michigan, store on May 22 when a Target security guard confronted her and claimed that she was wearing a stolen bikini bottom underneath her clothes, Davis' attorney, Jasmine Rand, said Monday. A second guard then handcuffed her and dragged her through the store, yelling that she had stolen the bikini, Rand said. The officers took her to a room. Once inside, a female manager was called in, and Davis was instructed to lift up her shirt and pull down her pants in front of the manager and the two male officers. Davis said she felt “humiliated and forced” by the Target employees. “Initially, I was in shock. I couldn't believe what was going on,” Davis, who lives nearby in the Detroit area, told NBC News. “I was scared — afraid of what was going to happen next.” Davis and Rand held a press conference on Monday morning in Detroit where they detailed the incident, adding that Target had not responded to their calls. Hours later, Target announced that it had fired one worker. “We want everyone who shops at Target to feel welcomed and respected and take any allegations of mistreatment seriously,” said a statement fro, Target. “We’re sorry for the actions of our former team member, who created an experience we don’t want any guest to have at Target. Upon reviewing our team’s actions, we terminated the team member who was directly involved.” The statement added that the retailer would be addressing the matter with the security team for the store. The manager is white, as is one of the security guards, Davis' attorney said. The other guard, who is Black, hinted after Davis was allowed to leave that what had happened to her was not unusual. “The African-American employee apologized to her and said, 'This happens all the time,' and he was afraid he would lose his job” if he didn't participate, Rand said. “The other two did not apologize at all.” The incident comes several months after a Black man said he was racially profiled in Waconia, Minnesota. In that encounter, James Edward Wright III said he was told that he couldn't touch headphones before buying them because an employee was afraid that he would steal them. Target has also faced questions of discrimination in its hiring practices: In April, the retailer agreed to a $3.7 million settlement in a lawsuit alleging that the company’s criminal background check process was biased against Black and Latino applicants. Rand, a civil rights attorney who has also represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, Black teens killed in high-profile shootings, did not immediately respond to a request for comment following Target's announcement of the firing. Earlier, she had said she and co-attorney Maurice Davis were gathering evidence and considering whether to pursue criminal charges.