Target recently fired an employee involved in a racial profiling incident, but only after the victim’s lawyers threatened to file a lawsuit and revealed that the employee admitted that racial profiling is routine at the store, according to a new report.
Attorneys representing 20-year-old Ashanae Davis held a press conference Monday in Detroit to publicize alleged the May 22 incident at a Southfield, Michigan store, where security guards humiliated Davis and falsely accused her of shoplifting a bikini, NBC news reported.
“I was so scared,” Davis stated at the press conference. “I had never had anything close or near like that happen to me. Two men that I never met before, never seen before. So, I was very scared and sad.”
An African-American loss prevention officer grabbed Davis by the arm as she tried to leave the store, according to civil rights attorneys Jasmine Rand and Maurice Davis. A second male guard, who is white, handcuffed Davis and subjected her to the “Target Walk of Shame,” in which they paraded her through the store while publicly announcing that she was suspected of stealing.
They took her to a loss prevention room where a white female manager told Davis to lift her shirt and pull down her pants to prove that she wasn’t wearing a stolen bikini. The two men observed the search in which no stolen bikini was found.
Target had not responded to calls from the attorneys until after the press conference when the megastore announced that it fired the Black security guard, the news outlet reported. That employee hinted to the victim immediately after the incident that racial profiling is routine at Target.
“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.”
Target apologized in a statement for “the actions of our former team member, who created an experience we don’t want any guest to have at Target.”
The retailer has a reputation for practicing racial discrimination. In April, Target agreed to settle a hiring discrimination lawsuit for $3.7 million that was filed by Black and Latino job applicants. And an African-American man posted a video on social media that showed employees in a Minnesota store refusing to allow him to touch a set of headphones before buying them because they were afraid he would steal them.