Black teens wrongfully detained in Target, company apologizes
Target reportedly terminated the security team member involved
Three Black teenagers were wrongfully detained at a Target store in Westlake Village, California during a grand theft investigation, according to the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department.
The teens — Malik Aaron, Aaron Frederickson, and Greg Kim — between the ages of 16 and 17, walked into the Target store to purchase snacks after a church service on Jan. 17.
According to ABC News, one of the teens told the Ventura County Star they were unaware of a shoplifting incident that took place a week prior at the Target location. The suspects of that incident reportedly smashed glass displays in the electronics department and stole smartphones.
The group was followed around the store by Target associates and one teen said that a security guard prevented them from leaving the store despite other customers exiting. The associates also blocked the exits with shopping carts.
“We were being followed in the store by an employee who told us, ‘Hey, I can’t have you guys loitering.'”
The Daily News reported that Aaron filmed the incident until a police deputy allegedly slapped the phone from his hands, shoved him into a counter, and put him in the police cruiser, according to his mother La Shaun Aaron.
Capt. Sal “Chuck” Becerra said in a statement on Friday that there was no evidence of excessive force, “nor does it support any allegations of wrongdoing, use of force, violation of our department policies, or violation of any laws on behalf of the deputies.”
The mother of the teen who was detained has retained attorney Toni Jaramilla to file a lawsuit against the company for violating her son’s civil rights. Jaramilla will also fight against Becerra’s alleged use of excessive force.
“The way they were detained was very aggressive and beyond necessary for the situation,” she said.
Target issued an apology in response to the incident and terminated the security team member involved. The store has also initiated mandatory security and racial bias training that all leaders at the Westlake Village location must take, according to the Daily News.
“What happened to these guests is in direct opposition to the inclusive experience we want all our guests to have. Our security team member took action and stopped these guests in violation of Target’s security procedures.”
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