Mesquite Teens Accused of Shoplifting at Kroger Say They Were Racially Profiled - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Mesquite Teens Accused of Shoplifting at Kroger Say They Were Racially Profiled

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mesquite Teens Accuse Kroger of Racial Profiling

    "If I don't stand for something, I'll fall for anything and I'm not falling for the okie doke on this one," Ukiah Swain said. The Mesquite mother said her boys were wrongly accused of shoplifting because they're black. (Published Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019)

    A Mesquite mother says her sons and nephews were racially profiled at the Kroger off Faithon P. Lucas Sr. Boulevard Thursday night.

    Ukiah Swain said the boys went to the store without her to buy snacks and they left with a bad taste in their mouths.

    "I've been crying for days. I don't want to cry anymore," Ukiah Swain said.

    The mother of seven took her pain and put it into action on Facebook Live after Mesquite police got a call from a Kroger employee about four boys stealing.

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    Swain said she couldn't believe it, so she confronted the manager.

    "I said, 'Come again?' And he said, 'They looked like they could be shoplifters' and he laughed," Ukiah Swain said.

    "I'm paying for my snacks and the police walk in," Zavarion Swain, 16, said.

    Police didn't find stolen items, they found receipts, but they gave the boys trespassing warnings.

    "I looked at the manager and I asked him what we did and he was like, 'We've had problems with people like you before,'" the teen said.

    "You could see the hurt on his face. You could see the pain and he asked me, 'Ma, how do I not look like a criminal so this doesn't happen again?'" Swain said.

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    Kroger has since responded.

    "We are taking this complaint very seriously and are currently investigating this matter. We value all of our customers, and apologize if anyone was made to feel less than welcomed," a company spokesperson said.

    Since posting to Facebook, Swain said she's gotten support and criticism, but what she really wants is a direct apology.

    "At this point, I'm standing up for my boys. I'm making people aware that this type of behavior, this type of profiling, is not acceptable," she said. "You owe my entire family an apology for the pain and for the hurt that you caused us."

    The trespass warnings given to the boys means if they come back to that Kroger location within the next year, they could be arrested and charged. Warnings like this are at an officer's or business' discretion.

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