#Roommates, get into this story! The president of Nordstrom Rack has plans to fly to St. Louis to personally apologize to three black teens falsely accused of shoplifting at the chains store in Brentwood Square.
According to CBS News, Mekhi Lee, Dirone Taylor and Eric Rogers II were minding their business trying to get their fits together for prom. They noticed several employees watching them as they walked around the store.
“I was nervous the whole time,” Lee recalled. “Every time we move, they move. When we looked up, they looked up.”
When they left the store, the unthinkable happened, Brentwood police were waiting for them in the parking lot. Authorities had informed the young men that they had been accused of stealing. After police conducted their investigation on the spot, police let them go without pressing any charges.
“The police were actually good. They understood where we were coming from and they showed us that they were just doing their job,” said Rogers.
In addition to the theft accusations, the teens said a customer in the store called them punks and allegedly asked them, “Are your parents proud of you for what you do?” In defending themselves, the three say an altercation broke out between them and the customer, and a store manager stepped in.
“I knew it was coming, but at the same time, I was feeling embarrassed, agitated, mixed emotions with the whole situation because I know we didn’t deserve it,” said Taylor.
While the boys were in the store, they did purchase something. They say they did it to prove a point.
“We made the purchase to show them that we’re equal and we didn’t have to steal anything,” Eric said.
The St. Louis NAACP wants to make sure this never happens again, and wants to work closely with Nordstrom Rack President, Geevy Thomas, on how he handles his employees.
“The discussion has to have some sustenance, it needs to be strategic, and it needs to have some measurable outcomes,” said Adolphus Pruitt, President of the St. Louis NAACP.
Nordstrom Rack released a statement to News 4 and apologized for their actions.
“We did not handle this situation well and we apologized to these young men and their families. We want all customers to feel welcome when they shop with us, and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”