Racial profiling and discrimination at the Eagan Outlet Mall

Part One

David Singleton columnCriminals, specifically shoplifters, come in all genders, ages and nationalities. However, at the Eagan Outlet Mall they appear to only come in one color — black.

I will refer to the individuals who have been discriminated against as Group One, Group Two and Group Three for purposes of protecting their identity. Certain specifics won’t be mentioned due to the fact that there is an active human and civil rights inquiry underway. Legal remedies are currently being pursued to obtain justice for the falsely accused and to hold the wrongful accusers accountable.

There are three separate groups on three separate dates and times of Black males and females who went to the Eagan Outlet Mall to shop. Each group all had more than enough money and purchased items that were verified by receipts; however, still they were profiled and accused by mall employees of various thefts that allegedly took place on the specific dates.

These incidents were not reported based on facts or observation, only based on being in groups and being Black.

In all cases, the Eagan Police Department was called by the mall for assistance with “shoplifting.” Each group was stopped and detained by the police in the parking lot and had their purses and bags dumped out on the ground.

They were searched and one was slammed against the car. Group One testified that a female who was pregnant was slammed onto the squad car so hard she had to go the hospital for stomach pains.

The reported items allegedly stolen by Groups One through Three were never found by mall employees or police, and there was never any videotape produced in any of the incidents to verify the mall’s claims of theft. However, all parties were trespassed from the property for “theft.”

Group One was cited for obstruction of legal process and disorderly conduct and now must appear in court and more than likely acquire a criminal record that originated from the discriminatory practices of mall employees.

Minnesota Community Policing Services received a complaint from Group One and, during the initial review of the allegations, committee investigators uncovered that there were two more similar incidents at the same mall under similar circumstances, and all groups are of African American descent.

This matter was referred to the nonprofit Special Investigations Committee for a probable cause hearing. The committee sent out voluntary orders to appear and held a hearing to take testimony from the three groups, the Eagan Outlet Mall, and the Eagan Police Department.

This was a voluntary process with the intent of enabling the parties to resolve their issues in lieu of legal action. However, the mall never returned any calls or emails, and the Eagan Chief of Police sent an email declining to participate, citing potential legal claims.

The groups appeared and gave testimony to the committee. The committee determined that there was probable cause to believe that there is racial profiling and discrimination occurring at the Eagan Outlet Mall; that each group had multiple human rights violated under Minnesota Statute 363A and violations under the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964; and legal action was recommended by the committee to the groups to obtain relief from this discriminatory and illegal conduct.

The Neilson consumer report states that African American consumers have a current buying power of $1 trillion, predicted to reach $1.3 trillion by the year 2017. “Black consumers have notable distinctions from other consumer groups, and understanding this group is critical to making lasting connections.”

 

David Singleton is the chief executive officer of Minnesota Community Policing Services. He welcomes reader comments to communitypolicingservices@gmail.com.