Video: 3 Black teens wrongly detained at Target while trying to buy snacks

They say Target employees blocked the exit with shopping carts to prevent them from leaving.

Jan 23, 2021, 10:00 am*



Alexandra Samuels

Cellphone footage of three Black teenagers—ages 16 and 17—getting detained inside of a Target has gone viral and prompted an apology from the retail giant. 

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The video—recorded inside of a Westlake Village Target in Los Angeles—shows police officers holding the teens’ arms behind their backs and pushing them against a checkout counter. 

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One of the teens, 17-year-old Malik Aaron, told CBSN Los Angeles he and his friends were at Target to buy snacks. Once inside, they say they saw another group of Black men stealing iPhones and then running out of the store. That’s when they claim a Target staffer began following them. 

What you guys see here is Lost Hills Sheriff's Station abuse and racially profile my son and his friends based on racially profiling by employees at Target Store Westlake-Village!!My son is the one who you can see being slammed and handcuffed against the counter. You can hear one of his friends hysterically saying "we just came from church". The kids go to In N Out and Target after church on SundayApparently because some other Black men stole some phones all Black people are associated with each other and accused of crimes because they must be in on it- logic according to Target employees responsible for this shit! They accused my son and his friends of loitering inside the store after the theft had already had taken place and the people stealing had ran out! They began following my son and his friends and then refused to let them leave as they had already called the police to say my son and his friends were "decoys"!!!!!A grave and unnecessary injustice has taken place! This trauma that has been inflicted on all of these kids is tragic. One of the officers slapped my son's phone out of his hand because he was recording. The phone was subsequently broken because of that officers aggression!!I am beyond angry. Heartbroken. Sickened. My son and his friends are hurt. In shock and angry because they were unjustly racially profiled and mistreated and abused by the responding law enforcement officers!! Oh! And LEO did all this shit to minors and DID NOT CONATACT ANY PARENTS OR GUARDIANS!!! I am waiting to receive the footage my son took that shows the moment the abusive officer knocked the phone out of his hand. This all unnecessary!! This incident took place approx 7:15pm 1/17/2021.

Posted by La Shaun Aaron on Monday, January 18, 2021

Aaron says the Target employee said the teens were not allowed to simply walk around the store. But as Aaron and his friends tried to leave, they saw Target employees had blocked the exit with shopping carts.

That’s when the teens say deputies arrived, and one of their friends began recording the incident. They got escorted out of the store in handcuffs.

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“He threw me in the cop car and told me to shut the eff up and slammed the door on my feet,” Aaron told CBSN Los Angeles of the police deputy.

No arrests were made, and the teens were later released. A Target spokesperson apologized for the incident after the cellphone video was posted to Facebook. Target also claimed to have terminated the team member involved.

“We want all Target guests to feel welcome and respected whenever they shop in our stores. We’re deeply sorry for what happened and we’ve terminated the security team member who was involved,” it said. “Additionally, all leaders at the store will retake mandatory security and racial bias training. Finally, and most importantly, we’re reaching out to all of the guests who were involved to offer a personal apology.”

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said it is aware of the incident, but would not comment further, according to CBSN Los Angeles.

The attorney for the teens’ families reportedly said she would be filing a lawsuit alleging civil rights violations.

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H/T CBSN Los Angeles

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*First Published: Jan 23, 2021, 9:59 am