#ShoppingWhileBlack: Father accused of stealing and handcuffed in front of his children by mall police
TheGrio has launched a special series called #BlackonBlue to examine the relationship between law enforcement and African-Americans. Our reporters and videographers will investigate police brutality and corruption while also exploring local and national efforts to improve policing in our communities. Join the conversation, or share your own story, using the hashtag #BlackonBlue.
A Black man who was trying to enjoy a day at a Texas mall and splurge on his two children says he was racially profiled, accused of stealing and handcuffed by mall police while an employee riffled through his bags.
Ro Lockett, however, had receipts for the $600 worth of merchandise he bought at a Finish Line store in the Stonebriar Centre mall in Frisco, Texas. He, along with his sons, age eight and ten, and his friend Brandon Kibart, who is white, were stopped last Wednesday and falsely accused of theft, reports the Dallas News.
According to a Frisco police report, Lockett and Kibart were suspected of stealing. Lockett’s son captured the interaction on cell phone video as a mall employee looked through their bags.
Lockett can be heard on video saying: , “this is how it happens in America, people.”
Lockett, a YouTube content creator who lives in Dallas, said he was “ambushed” and posted the video online and said he feels victimized.
He wrote: “Today, I struggle to find peace, reassurance or comfort that the America I live in is for the people, by the people and of the people.
“Stalked as if we were prey as we shopped and then ambushed by Frisco police, I stood handcuffed helplessly as my children, friend and myself were humiliated and victimized based on an assumption that we had stolen merchandise.
“As the video demonstrates, no discretion or consideration was given as we were approached and demanded to surrender our bags, in the middle of the mall, to be searched.
“My 10 & 8 year sons, were searched as it was a “given” we had stole from Finish Line. Thank GOD, I remembered “the talk” I was taught as a child, that being Black, I’m presumed guilty until proven innocent in America…something I never understood or felt applied to me until this.
Watch video here.
“Our lives forever changed, my children’s hurt and pain didn’t and won’t stop with the you’re good to go now.”
After the incident, Lockett said he had a sit-down with his kids.
“I told them that everything that was done and how it was handled was wrong. My kids are scarred for life. Their dad is [handcuffed] in front of his kids just for buying things for them?”
“I’m just a dad out with his kids, buying things for them from several stores. And all of a sudden I’m in handcuffs.”
The Collin County chapter of the NAACP is looking into the matter and said: “We have attempted to reach officials from the Finish Line, as we are concerned that this is another case of “existing while black.”
The Frisco police department released this statement: “The Frisco Police Department is aware of the video circulating online and the questions that have been raised.
“Through our long-standing contacts with local community leaders, we have been in contact with one of the involved parties, Mr Lockett, and have attempted to contact the other, Mr Kibart.
“Mr Lockett was given information on how to file a formal complaint and we encourage both parties to do so.