A 911 call from a major office supply retailer accusing a “young Black man in a hoodie” of stealing merchandise contradicts its own denials that such racial profiling ever took place, lawyers said of an incident in the metro Atlanta area that resulted in a temporary police detainment of an innocent person earlier this month.
Anarrion Wilcox, 21, had the receipts to show that he legally and fully paid for multiple high-tech printers at two separate Office Depot locations, but he still had the police called on him after an employee claimed without proof that he was stealing. The Office Depot employee also falsely told the police that Wilcox had previously stolen from other Office Depot locations.
However, a closer look at the facts and events that transpired in Atlanta and nearby Marietta, Georgia, strongly suggests that Wilcox — who was picking up the printers for his mother — was the victim of racial profiling by the employee and the responding officers, lawyers say. The contents of a 911 call corroborate that suspicion.
“I have a potential suspect in my store that’s already hit one of our Office Depot locations and store printers,” the employee, identified only as Misha, can be heard saying on the 911 call that was made available to the public.
Misha went on to claim that Wilcox “already went to one store not far from here and now he’s in my store trying to do the same thing. I’ve been contacting the hell out of him so I already know what he’s going to do.”
Misha claims they were instructed by Office Depot to call the police.
Firmly and unjustly criminalizing the innocent Black man, Misha incorrectly predicted that Wilcox would “use a bogus card that’s going to decline.”
After police arrived, Wilcox showed them his proof of purchases, but lawyers said in a press release that “the officers continued to harass” him by “questioning his need for multiple printers as well as his mother’s business.”
When contacted by NewsOne, Office Depot denied that the allegations had anything to do with race.
“Based on Office Depot’s initial investigation into this incident, no racial profiling took place,” the company said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “We have attempted multiple times to make contact with this customer and his mother, to share information and to directly address their concerns, but we have been unable to reach them as of this moment. We look forward to the opportunity to meet with this customer and his mother in the near future, in order to provide information, details, and assurance that no racial profiling took place.”
However, civil rights lawyer Harry Daniels, who represents Wilcox, said that characterization is not entirely accurate.
“This wasn’t some simple mistake or miscommunication,” Daniels said in a press release. “Office Depot knew he wasn’t some kind of criminal. He’d paid for the printers himself. He had the receipts. But all they saw was a young Black man in a hoodie.”
Daniels added: “The fact is that if Anarrion had shown any frustration or irritation at all, if he’d raised his voice or insisted on his rights, this could have ended very differently. Then Office Depot would have blood on their hands instead of printer ink.”
Life After Hepatitis C: How Ruby Manuel Broke Free From Lifelong Trauma
Surviving Hepatitis C: Jessica's Story
Manslaughter Charges For Hockey ‘Freak Accident’ Where Black Player’s Skate Cut White Opponent’s Throat
Bigoted GOP Candidate Caught Using Racist And Sexist Slurs In Phone Recording Claims He's Not A Bigot
How To Support A Loved One Who Is Living With Heart Failure
Heart In Your Hands: Important Lifestyle Changes For Heart Failure Recovery
Life In Heart Failure Recovery
Jail Justice: Social Media Memes Mock Derek Chauvin After George Floyd's Murderer Stabbed In Prison