Nordstrom Rack is under attack for three boys Black men were questioned by the police for no reason after the employees thought they were shoplifting.
Mekhi Lee, Dirone Taylor and Eric Rogers II were shopping at a Nordstrom rack in Brentwood, Missouri, when they noticed that they were being monitored by shop staff, local news channel KMOV reported. Lee, a freshman at Alabama A & M University, accompanied Rogers and Taylor in purchasing balloutfits.
"I was nervous all the time," Lee told KMOV. "Every time we move, they move and when we looked up, they looked up."
While they were in the shop, the teenagers said that an elderly customer reportedly called them "punks", which escalated the tense situation.
"When she called us a punk, and she had nothing to do with the situation, everyone in the shop is against us, who look at us crazy, (and) we did not do anything," Lee told St. Louis Post. Shipping. "I was totally ashamed and we are the only ones defending against everyone in the store."
Lee, Taylor and Rogers left the shop only to be approached by the police who drove into the parking lot. The police told the youths that they had received a phone call accusing three black men of theft. The adolescents were allowed to go without charge after an investigation.
The incident has sparked shockwaves in the US. The treatment of colored people, especially black men, is examined after a Starbucks manager called the police in April to arrest two black men at a location in Philadelphia.
"It really makes me angry because I pour so much into my son, and I raised him to do the right thing," Lee's mother told St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I am a single mother raising an African American male child, and I fear that, and now this fear has become reality … I am heartbroken, they had to undergo this humiliation, (but) I am so happy it went positive and the police heard their side of the story. "
Nordstrom Rack President Geevy Thomas flew to St. Louis to apologize to the teenagers and their families, KMOV said.
Nordstrom Rack did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request.
"We have not coped well with this situation and we have apologized to these young men and their families," Nordstrom Rack said in a press release. "We are improving our internal practices and training to ensure this does not happen again, we want all customers to feel welcome when shopping with us, and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind."