A viral video shows a Black man calmly and firmly rebuking a Walgreens employee who called the cops on him for no reason while he was shopping.
Vinnie Dewayne was shopping at his local Walgreens—an errand he runs most evenings after work—when police confronted him. A video of the altercation swiftly went viral, earning nearly 30,000 views on Dewayne’s Instagram and more than 5,000 upvotes on Reddit.
The video begins not long after Dewayne began his evening perusal. As he says in the video, he frequents the nearby Walgreens in the evenings to gather necessities for himself and his cat, LuLu. He had been shopping for less than 10 minutes when an officer approached him, informing Dewayne that he would need to leave the store.
“Can you explain one more time why you’re telling me to leave?” Dewayne asks at the beginning of the nearly six-minute video. The officer informs him that the store’s security guard requested his removal and invites him to directly ask the employee some questions.
The employee is immediately defensive when the duo reaches him, telling Dewayne, “You were just walking around, I didn’t know what you were looking for.” This is essentially a description of what one does when shopping at a store, and it was not enough for Dewayne.
“What do you mean, you don’t know what I’m looking for?” he asks. “I’m clearly looking for something. Is there a problem with me walking around?”
The employee fires back that customers are not allowed to wander the store if they “look suspicious.” When pressed on what exactly makes Dewayne suspicious, the employee gets cagey. He continually repeats that Dewayne was “just walking around,” which is exactly what one does when browsing a store.
Dewayne not only explains what products he was intending to buy, but also provides his address and confirms with an offscreen individual that he does, in fact, shop frequently at the location. Once he has proven that there is nothing suspicious about a regular guy visiting his local Walgreens, he again presses the employee about his reasoning for phoning the police.
The employee fumbles through repeated excuses, all of which boil down to: You were shopping while Black.
Dewayne then explains the general rules of visiting a store. Most people are free to browse stores to their heart’s content. Even if they decide against making a purchase, they are typically allowed to browse in peace and leave the location without police intervention. Dewayne skillfully sidesteps the employee’s many attempts to divert blame, reminding the man that he made the decision to call the cops.
“There’s a lot of people just walking around,” Dewayne points out. “Am I the only one that looks suspicious?” The Walgreens employee quickly claims that there are other suspicious-looking people in the store, whom he somehow neglected to point out to the police.
Finally, the employee is forced to admit that Dewayne did nothing wrong.
In the last minute of the video, Dewayne finally lets some of his irritation show. Noting that he is a loyal customer and rewards member at Walgreens, he refuses to accept the employee’s bungled defense. He instead turns to the police and asks, “Do you have any feedback for this gentleman to do his job better?”
“Um, maybe talk to the person before, before you, and find out what’s going on,” the cop hesitantly tells the employee.
“Maybe before telling a cop that I should be kicked out, maybe you should ask me if I need help,” Dewayne adds. “Does that sound like a reasonable idea?”
Commenters were having none of the employee’s paltry excuses.
“How is walking around suspicious?” one person wrote in the Instagram comments. “What else are you supposed to do in a store?”
Dozens of people commended Dewayne for how calmly he resolved the conflict. On Reddit, many noted that Dewayne didn’t even fit the stereotypical, racist profile of a “suspicious” Black man.
“The fact that he is being profiled in an expensive fuzzy light blue hoodie is just comical but also so depressing and dystopian,” one person wrote.
“Clearly guilty of shopping while Black,” another agreed.
Dewayne did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment before press time.
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