VACAVILLE (KPIX 5) — A Vacaville man claims his recent shopping trip to Walmart ended with him being racially profiled and eventually told to leave or get arrested for trespassing.
Joshua Lane, an African American married father of two was shopping for a movie projector for his children at the Walmart in Vacaville on March 28. When he began to be followed by security personnel.
Lane, who works as a longshoreman in Oakland says he had a conversation initially with one man working security.
“I told him I’m a working man, and showed him a picture of my wife and kids,” said Lane. “He kind of apologized but told me ‘You fit the description,'” said Lane.
Lane said he went over to another aisle and noticed other people trailing him, including a woman who began closely monitoring him.
“We moved to another aisle and continued speaking. That’s when the lady followed me again,” said Lane. “This happened at least three different times in three different aisles. ”
Lane began recording the encounter on his cell phone, which his wife posted on Facebook soon after the incident. In the video, the woman who did not identify herself is seen calling someone on the phone and is heard saying, “He’s being hostile and threatening.”
“She then asked me to leave” said Lane. ‘When she said those words and I knew she was on the phone as well, I ceased everything and I headed towards the exit.”
The woman was not identified but she appeared to be part of the security or loss prevention personnel.
KPIX 5 obtained a Vacaville police department incident report, which stated Lane was told about trespassing laws.
“The officer told me at that point to leave the area and don’t come back. It’s private property,” said Lane.
In an email obtained by KPIX, Walmart Global Ethics stated it investigated after Lane complained to the company that it was an incident of racial profiling. Walmart said it was “unable to substantiate that allegation.” The email also said Lane was a customer “currently in good standing.” KPIX 5 contacted Walmart for further comment but we have not yet heard back.
KPIX 5 also obtained another email from Walmart saying it had concluded its investigation involving “a former employee” and that it found no evidence of racial profiling.
“I’m trying to teach my son and my daughter as well they’re gonna have to grow up in the city and be leaders as well,” said Lane. “I’m trying to show them by example.”
Lane said his experience is an example of what African Americans go through every day. “It’s very real. It’s everywhere. It needs to be talked about. The more silent we are about it, the more it’s going to continue to happen.”
A week and a half after the incident, Lane says he went back to the store with two members of the NAACP to meet with the store manager for an explanation.
Lane says the store manager told him he was welcomed back to shop at Walmart.
“If I had been hostile, it probably would’ve turned out in a not good situation,” said Lane. “That could’ve been my name out there everybody would be screaming.