A quick trip to the store turned into a bizarre incident that eventually involved law enforcement for two Black men who say all they were trying to do was buy cheese.
Ricky Berry says he and his roommate Phillip Blackwell headed to a local CVS in Carytown, Virginia in search of sliced cheese on the day before Thanksgiving. After asking one of the store employees if they carried the item and being told that they did not, the pair says the employees strangely disappeared. “We looked around for about, I want to say 30-45 minutes and we couldn’t find anybody,” Blackwell told WRIC News.
Berry, Blackwell and one other customer who was present in the store were soon greeted by police, who had apparently arrived at the CVS in response to a call about suspicious customers. Berry says the police joined them in searching of the missing employees, who were eventually found hiding in a locked room in the back of the store. Once the staff was found, the pair says police told them that if they didn’t leave the store, they would be arrested. “They just told us that we need to leave the premises or else we were gonna be arrested for trespassing,” Berry said.
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He captured much of the peculiar incident on video and posted it to his Snapchat account, where someone in the background can be heard saying, “I’m letting you know, he’s gotta go.”
CVS Communications Director Michael J. DeAngelis told The Huffington Post that the company has apologized to Berry, however, he also said he doesn’t believe the incident was racially motivated, given that the two employees who were on duty are Black.
A spokesperson for the Richmond Police Department told WRIC that in addition to the call they received about “suspicious” people inside the store, there had also been a disturbance at the same CVS location earlier in the day.