Safeway responds after boy falsely accused of stealing sandwich

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Civil rights activists and community organizers in San Francisco are demanding an apology from a Safeway store in the Castro.

They came out again Saturday after what they say is a lackluster explanation issued last month after an 11-year-old African American boy was allegedly racially profiled in the store.

As KRON4’s Philippe Djegal reports, Safeway has now issued another response.

Nearly a month has passed since 11-year-old Ja’mari Oliver was stopped by third party security guards at Safeway in San Francisco’s Castro District.

An African American boy falsely accused of stealing a sandwich he paid for on his way to school.

And, for the second time this month, demonstrators rallied outside the store Saturday demanding the company take accountability for the mistake.

“You may mess with our adults, but when you start messing with our children, it says that America has fallen so low, that they are lower than the low,” Rev. Amos Brown said.

Members of the NAACP’s San Francisco branch, city leaders and, Ja’mari’s principal said the company’s initial explanation of the incident fell flat.

And the offer of a $25 gift certificate to make up for it was disrespectful.

“What if this child was not a child of color? That same incident would not have happened the same way,” Supervisor Shamann Walton said.

Ja’mari and his family did not attend this event, but at a rally on May 5, he said he was racially profiled.

Safeway eventually apologized.

“I hope you’ll accept our apologies and our commitment to do a better job serving you in everyone of our stores,” President Karl Schroeder said.

President of Safeway’s Northern California Division, Karl Schroeder, says the company has met with Ja’mari and his family and apologized directly.

Adding that Safeway is addressing this incident with every employee in the company, and will improve training so that nothing like this happens again.

“We regret it, because its not just against our store policies, how it was handled with Ja’mari, its against our values, and its against who we are as individuals,” Schroeder said.

“We are united to make sure that all people, and all peoples means all peoples — plural, will be respected, for their worth, their dignity and their humanity,” Rev. Amos said.

The grocery chain says the security guards involved no longer work in the store.

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