Employees at a Safeway supermarket in California’s Bay Area called police last month accusing a black woman of shoplifting, even though all she was doing was helping the homeless.
Erika Martin arrived at the Mountain View Safeway on Shoreline Boulevard, where she has been known to shop several times a week, on July 8 with her young son and six other family members with the intention to bring supplies for some people living on the streets.
Martin, who lives in Sunnyvale and works at Google, got to the location first after attending a church service. She remained in her car and handed through the window a bag of dog food to a homeless man so he could feed his pit bull.
Her two sisters later joined her, carrying care packages containing personal hygiene items for some homeless men they knew, reported Mercury News.
Martin said as she was getting ready to leave the store parking lot, two police cars with five officers inside pulled up behind her car, blocking her way.
Officers asked Martin why she was at the store and whether she had any open warrants, to which she replied that she has never even gotten a parking ticket.
The woman’s sister recorded a five-minute video on her cellphone showing the officers standing outside her car.
Martin, who has worked at Google for more than five years, was told that employees at the Safeway allegedly saw a woman in a white top matching her description who made eye contact with a suspected male shoplifter who had stolen items from the store before and returned that evening.
The mother was dressed in a grey T-shirt that had ‘Y’all need Jesus’ printed across the front. Martin also pointed out that she never even went inside the supermarket that day.