By Serran Soledad
Last Saturday, demonstrators rallied against a Target store in Westlake Village, California, marching to the front of the building following a brief press conference in the parking lot. Organized by 805 Resistance, a group based in Thousand Oaks, the protest was called in response to the racial profiling and detainment of three Black teenagers at the shopping center in mid-January. Organizers also called for a boycott of the Target location in question.
At the press conference, a civil rights attorney representing the teenagers spoke to the press, condemning the actions of employees, local law enforcement, and the Target Corporation as a whole.
Footage of the incident shows Malik Aaron, Greg Kim, and Aaron Frederickson, ages 16 and 17, being detained by officers from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department. Target employees accused the teens of stealing, racially profiling them after a separate group of teenagers allegedly stole phones and ran out of the store.
The three teenagers, who were at Target with their friends to buy snacks after church, report that employees would not let them leave as Target security blocked them in with shopping carts until law enforcement could arrive.
Footage of the incident one of the teen boys can be heard growing frustrated while being detained with his arms bent behind his back, “I did nothing wrong!” he yelled in the video.
Another teen who filmed the incident had his phone knocked from his hand and broken by a sheriff’s deputy. The teens were eventually put into the back of squad cars, with one saying he was thrown into the backseat as the officer yelled at him to “shut the fuck up!” The teenagers were eventually let go.
Following the press conference, the crowd marched towards the entrance of the building, chanting, “No justice, no peace!”
Once at the storefront, a community organizer stood atop a planter and gave a speech further condemning Target for its racial profiling and aggressive detainment of the teenagers. “As a Black man I’m here in support of these families, and in support of the community, and to let these people know, ain’t nobody scared of y’all,” he said. “So come put your hands on me, and let’s see what happens.” The mother of one of the boys also spoke against the police department.
Protesters crowded around the speakers, holding signs reading “Racial Profiling Happened Here” and “Boycott Target Westlake.”
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