Despite handing over the receipt for the goods they'd purchased, they were held in the parking lot for about 20 minutes while their infant son was left in the hot car.
As America goes into another week of confronting the racism that runs through almost every fiber of its existence, incidents of racial profiling continue to be reported across the country. One would think at least now—a time when the entire Black community is speaking out against discrimination basis their race—white people would stop to think before acting on their deep-rooted racial prejudices. However, as one Black family recently experienced, this is not the case. 26-year-old Bracey Myles was with his fiance and their infant son in the parking lot of a Holton, Kansas, Walmart when cops stopped them for allegedly shoplifting.
According to The Kansas City Star, Myles was loading groceries into his trunk last Wednesday when two police cars pulled up next to his. The three law enforcement officers who stepped out told him and his fiancé, Alfreda Lange, told them that they’d been accused of stealing from the store. The cops—who were from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and Holton Police Department—asked to see the couples' receipt and their ID's which they duly produced. Despite handing over the receipt for the goods they'd purchased, they were held in the parking lot for about 20 minutes while their infant son was left in the hot car, said Lange.
Isn’t your policy to stop customers at the door if they are suspected of shoplifting? Why were the police waiting for me outside because of a phone call from one of your employees?— TheLakeWolf (@TheLakeWolf) June 17, 2020
They made me keep my newborn son inside the car while they while they “investigated” I wasn’t allowed to even start my car..— TheLakeWolf (@TheLakeWolf) June 17, 2020
When they asked to at least turn the car on the car to keep their son from overheating, the cops denied their request, at which point Myles began recording the encounter on his phone. The video of the incident he later tweeted with the caption "Somebody help me out I was racially profiled and publicly humiliated" shows one officer holding what appears to be the receipt. The cops don't say much except that they "don't know" if the family paid and that they're "investigating."
Somebody help me out I was racially profiled and publicly humiliated pic.twitter.com/fYtwtGOcH9— TheLakeWolf (@TheLakeWolf) June 17, 2020
Myles and Lange, who have lived in Holton for about a month, revealed that they were the only Black people in the store. "Sometimes they don't have to have a reason to bother you," said Lange. "It's not something that should never happen. Going to Walmart to get groceries and you have to fear that 'am I gonna walk out and the cops are going to be standing there because I'm Black and I was racially profiled.'" They'd stopped at the only Walmart in town to pick up dinner and formula for their son, she explained. They used self check out and left the store without any employees approaching them.
I stood there for 5 minutes with my hands up before I started recording by the way..— TheLakeWolf (@TheLakeWolf) June 17, 2020
2. The police cannot go through your stuff without someone SEEING you steal. If they felt you were under ringing items they’re supposed to use the 10ft rule and be SUPER friendly. And get a member of mgmt to do any further investigating.— kandidly kayla (@kaybolden_) June 18, 2020
3 cops...on $100 worth of unstolen groceries. This is racial profiling. Loss prevention doesn’t even tap you on the shoulder unless they think it’s a bunch of items...and this person had a receipt. He should have been stopped at the door if their was even a question! But bc— Black Lives Matter (@BloodMoonbeam) June 18, 2020
When the police cars pulled up next to theirs, they both were surprised and scared. "I was really in disbelief that the cops were called on me for a grocery visit. I wanted it all to be over quick," said Myles. "It seemed like they went out to humiliate and harass us." Speaking of having gone through the traumatic encounter for 20 minutes even after producing the receipt, he said, "I think after they realized that there was nothing that occurred they were looking for an excuse as to why we were still being detained and why they were still there."
As they stood in the parking lot, Lange said she worried about Myles becoming the victim of the next "unjustified shooting" by a police officer. "That's my biggest fear that something might happen and they might decide it's a justified reason when really there's never a justified reason. I was terrified," she said. By the time the officers finally decided to let the couple go, their infant son had developed a heat rash that lasted several days. Both Myles and Lange said they've struggled with sleepless nights, anxiety, headaches, and an inability to focus after the incident. "I'm just trying to find my peace of mind because they took that from me," said Myles.