Jonathan Hart

Nordstrom Rack Calls Cops on Black Teens for No Reason

In the current trend of calling the police on Black people around the country for doing ordinary things like golfing, going to Starbucks or renting an Airbnb, three Black males were falsely accused of theft when prom shopping in the St. Louis, Mo., area.

Eric Rogers and Dirone Taylor, both high school seniors, and Mekhi Lee, a freshman at Alabama A&M University, chose to shop at Brentwood Square Nordstrom Rack on Thursday. They began to notice several employees watching them and following them around the store.

“I was nervous the whole time,” Lee told KMOV. “Every time we move, they move. When we looked up, they looked up.”

The teens said a customer in the store who assumed they were stealing called them punks and asked them, “Are your parents proud of you for what you do”

A store employee called the police and said the teens had shoplifted. So when the three left the store, police surrounded them in the parking lot.

Lee said they showed authorities what they had bought and a store receipt. Authorities let the young men go without charges.

“The police let us [tell] our story,” Lee told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The police did their job. They also read us the police report where Nordstrom [Rack] said we had stolen several items.”

Nordstrom Rack is the discount arm of the Seattle-based luxury retailer, Nordstrom Inc., which has a C-suite with only two women (Kelley Hall became chief accounting officer and treasurer in August), no Blacks, and one Latino, who is retiring this month. The Nordstrom brothers, Erik, Pete and Blake, are co-presidents of the company.

CNBC reported in January that “a large share of Nordstrom’s growth of late has stemmed from Rack.”

That could explain why Geevy Thomas, president of Nordstrom Rack, was quick to fly to St. Louis to apologize to the teens in person on Tuesday.

“I feel fortunate to have met these young men and their families,” Thomas said in a statement. “I appreciate the opportunity to listen to their concerns and offer our sincere apologies on behalf of Nordstrom. I also want to thank the young men for their poise in dealing with local law enforcement and the police themselves for handling the situation professionally.”

Lee’s mother, Twyla Lee, said her son’s experience is something she has always feared.

“I’m a single mother raising an African American male child, and I fear this, and now this fear has become reality … I’m heartbroken they had to go through that humiliation, [but] I’m so happy it went in a positive way, and police listened to their side of the story,” she told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Latest News

women in politics

Women Remain Vastly Underrepresented in Local Government, Despite Conventional Wisdom Suggesting Otherwise

Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sat behind President Biden during his first speech to a joint session of Congress on April 28 — representing the first time two women held such important and high-ranking political offices. Even after such a historic moment, the reality…

voter restriction

Florida Follows Georgia’s Lead, Approves Racist Anti-Voter Restrictions Aimed Primarily at Democrats and People of Color

Not content with letting Georgia be the only state in the South demonized for its bigoted and racist attacks on voter rights, Florida has jumped into the fray in issuing its own series of new and highly controversial “Jim Crow-esque” anti-voting restrictions aimed specifically at disenfranchising Democrats and voters of…

Kentucky Derby

Inspired by Protests Over Breonna Taylor’s Death, Humana and Kentucky Derby Festival Launch Diversity and Inclusion Initiative in Louisville

Ahead of the 147th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1, Kentucky Derby officials and Humana (No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020) have announced a new equity initiative meant to make the race more accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of race, gender, age…

crimes against human ity

‘Crime Against Humanity’; Global Report Says the US Should Be Prosecuted in International Criminal Court for Ongoing Police Murders of Black Americans

In what has been described as a “devastating” report, human rights experts and lawyers have investigated and released a 188-page analysis of the ongoing police brutality and killing of Black Americans in the U.S. Their verdict: the country is guilty of “crimes against humanity” and should be prosecuted for its…

Tokyo, Olympics

Tokyo Olympics to Encourage Significant Increase in Gender Equality Among Event’s Corporate Sponsors

Besides simply being a showcase for some of the most talented and athletic men and women on the planet, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are hoping their event this summer can also help promote significant change in corporate culture, both in Japan and around the globe. Bloomberg’s Ayai Tomisawa…

AbbVie Joins Over 400 Leading US Employers in the Human Rights Campaign’s ‘Business Coalition for the Equality Act’

Originally published on LinkedIn. AbbVie ranked No. 19 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   AbbVie has joined a group of over 400 corporations and leading U.S. employers to support the Human Rights Campaign’s “Business Coalition for the Equality Act,” an initiative advocating for federal…

Accenture and Goodwill Develop Virtual Experience To Help People Impacted by the Criminal Justice System Enter the Workforce

Originally published at Accenture is ranked No. 5 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   Goodwill Industries International has teamed with Accenture to develop an innovative virtual experience called Project Overcome. The experience is designed for people impacted by the criminal justice system who want to…