Erika Martin usually helped homeless people with food packages – that is exactly what she was doing when she tried helping a homeless man at a Safeway in Mountain View, California.
That day Martin brought dog food for a homeless man’s dog, the man was usually found at the Safeway off Shoreline Boulevard in Mountain View. “That day, I decided to give him dog food for his dog,” said Martin.
But to her surprise cops appeared out of nowhere and blocked her way.
“The police just blocks me in. I’m like, ‘what’s going on?’” recalled the African-American woman.
Turns out, Safeway employee thought Martin was shoplifting and decided to call 911. “Then she [the officer] was like ‘well, we were called here because you fit the description of someone taking items out of Safeway and bringing it back to your car’” said Martin.
Martin explained that the supermarket employees thought she was conspiring with another black man and a group of kids to steal from their store.
So the cops decided to block her way — but here’s the thing: Martin didn’t even step in the store, in fact she didn’t even get out of her car. Though Martin agrees her son was inside the deli to check if cookie samples were being given out. And he had done that many times earlier, but this time he returned to a racial encounter where his mother was being accused of stealing when in reality she was donating.
“He was like crying because he thought they were there to arrest him,” Martin recalled.
Later cops figured they had the wrong person because Martin wasn’t even matching with the description of the suspect. Now, Martin is accusing the store employees and cops of racially profiling and rightfully so.
“Racism still exists,” she said. “I blame the Safeway employees and for them to do something like that to me is just hurtful and shameful.”
“I am not going back to that Safeway ever,” she added.
After Martin was made to go through the racist encounter, a store manager apologized but the damage was already done. The manager reportedly told Martin a corporate would call her – she says she is still waiting for that call.
This racial profiling and getting people of color in trouble for no good reason needs to stop.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Getty Images