From the gunning down of two Black people in Kentucky to the Taser shooting of a Black girl in a Cincinnati store, the Kroger supermarket chain has been the scene of unfortunate racial bias incidents that’s surely a public relations nightmare.
The latest instance happened on Jan. 3 and involved a white assistant manager at the Kroger in Mesquite, Texas, who called the cops on four innocent young Black men. He later admitted to calling police simply because he said they looked like they could be shoplifters.
NewsOne contacted Kroger on Thursday to ask about the series of events that mostly took place last year. The company sent the same statement it released days after last week’s incident and declined to offer any additional comments.
Ukiah Swain said a Kroger representative reached out to her and apologized for the racial profiling at the Mesquite store but failed to apologize directly to her sons and nephews — ages 15, 16, 19 and 20 — who were the victims, the Huffington Post reported on Wednesday.
“As a mother, from what I see, they’re still hurt, they’re upset, they’re frustrated. My 19-year-old has not left the house at all. He hasn’t even stepped outside for a breath of fresh air,” she said, adding that she wants the store to apologize to the young men “the same way that they humiliated them — in person.”
Swain said her four family members went to the supermarket to buy snacks and were stopped and accused of shoplifting after making their purchases. In fact, she said, the assistant manager waited for them to pay before calling the police.
The four young men showed the cops their receipts, but the officers issued them a trespass warning anyway at the assistant manager’s request.
Kroger said in the statement that it notified the police department that the company rescinded the trespass warning.
As for the employees involved in the incident, Kroger “removed them from the store” while an investigation was ongoing. The company declined to answer NewsOne’s question about whether the assistant manager was fired. The store said it would conduct sensitivity training at the Mesquite store.
Other Kroger stores were the scenes of direct and indirect incidents involving racial bias last year, too.
One example involved a store security guard in Toledo, Ohio, who violently wrestled a Black teen girl to the ground who was accused of shoplifting in March.
In April, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called for the expansion of a boycott against the supermarket chain in Cincinnati. Many in the city’s predominantly Black community of Walnut Hills had been protesting store closures in their neighborhood over questionable claims from Kroger that the store was unprofitable.
In August, an off-duty Cincinnati police officer working security at a local Kroger fired his Taser at an 11-year-old Black girl for allegedly shoplifting.
In October, the national spotlight was on a Kroger in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, when a white supremacist shot and killed two Black people after the gunman had tried but failed to enter a predominantly Black church.
In December, a Kroger gas station in Louisville was the scene of a violent police arrest in December of a Black motorist for no apparent reason. A video of the beat down went viral.