Since when does helping a homeless person a crime? Erika Martin, a black woman, gave some dog food to a homeless man for his pet canine at a Safeway grocery store parking lot in Mountain View, CA—and the police were called on her by employees of the store, Buzzfeed News reports.
What makes matters worse, Martin did not go inside the store or get out of her car. She went to the parking lot because she knew the homeless man would be there with his dog and soon noticed a police car surrounding her vehicle.
“I’m backing out and the next thing I know the cop blocks me in,” Martin told BuzzFeed News. “It happened because we were doing a good deed.”
The Mountain View Police Department released a statement to Buzzfeed stating that they were called by an employee who, “believed there was an in-progress theft occurring in their store.” Adding that he thought, “a man and a woman, as well as children, were working together to try and take items from the store.”
Martin did confirm that her son, nephews, and nieces went inside the store to get free cookie samples from the bakery. But they did not steal anything. She said that after the children came out of the store, a Safeway manager ran outside and gave her a dirty look.
Since then, Safeway is undergoing an internal investigation and has apologized for the incident.”In this instance, the call to the police was prompted by the presence of an adult male with a history of suspected shoplifting at the store,” Safeway spokesperson Wendy Gutshall said. “Safeway has reached out to Ms. Martin to sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding, and we look forward to continuing the discussion regarding her concerns.”
Initially, they were looking for an African-American man who has a history of shoplifting at the store. Yet somehow they tied Martin into all of this simply because she is a black woman. “Just because there was an African American man in the store, how they can associate him with us?” She said. “Just because of the color of our skin? It didn’t make any sense to us.”
Part of the incident was caught on camera by Martin’s sister in the video below.
READ MORE: Police Called On Black College Student Eating In Dining Hall