There’s a new addition to the endless list of normal activities that Black people can’t do without someone calling the cops on them: feeding the homeless.
Safeway supermarket employees in Mountain View, California called 911 and reported that Erika Martin was shoplifting, when she was actually donating food to a homeless man, CBS News affiliate KPIX-TV reported on Monday.
Martin and her young son were sitting in her car while giving the man, who is often near the supermarket, dog food for his pet. She routinely drives around and distributes care packages to homeless people. Suddenly, a police car blocked her in, and the officer told Martin that she fit the description of a shoplifter that the employees reported.
“Racism still exists,” said Martin, who fortunately convinced the police that she was innocent. In fact, Martin never stepped inside the supermarket or exited her vehicle.
“I blame the Safeway employees, and for them to do something like that to me is just hurtful and shameful,” said Martin. “I am not going back to that Safeway ever.”
The workers thought Martin was working with an African-American man and several kids who were allegedly stealing food items from the store.
A store manager apologized to Martin and promised that a Safeway spokesperson would contact her. That call never came.
However, a Safeway spokesperson responded to the news outlet’s request for a statement. The workers recognized a man in the store who previously shoplifted, and for some unexplained reason the employees suspected that Martin was part of his scheme, the spokesperson told KPIX-TV.