On July 5th, shortly after an earthquake hit the Los Angeles, California, area, a Black family embarked on a visit to a Santa Monica Nike store. The family says they were racially profiled and accused of stealing a $12.00 ball.

Joel Stallworth, a former track and field star, and TaMiya Dickerson had the police called on them after the Nike store manager assumed they stole a Nike Swoosh Mini basketball that they only decided to purchase after their son, Sammy, started to play with it, according to KTLA.

#repost My Story😡 feel free to Share. We don’t fear no evil! Imagine being a 19 month old black baby boy. Your father purchased you your first basketball at 9:01 pm on a Friday night. A moment that creates a bond you will always be connected to. But in an instance someone steals your ball; because they accuse your father of shop lifting. Welcome to America Sammy. I hope you don’t have to get used to this – DadAs commotion rises in the air from the earthquake we decided to head to Santa Monica with our friends in town. Feeling eerie about the quakes we decided to push through as we were visiting one of our favorite stores, Nike. As we went inside the store we notice the upstairs was for men and the downstairs for women. I walked up the stairs with my son on my shoulders feeling really proud. The earthquake dissipated from my mind. We saw kids playing and looked at one playing with an orange basketball. I thought to myself I want to buy my son his first ball here at Nike because I really love the brand. Little did I know after purchasing this orange toddler size basketball that I would be followed and profiled as I leave the store. We cross the street as my son Samuel and I are embracing our father and son moment to hear a lady tell us STOP can you return the ball you stole from the store. I looked at her in disbelief. Like it was a joke but she wouldn’t stop following my family and I. She reached out saying again return the stolen ball. I looked back at her and told her “I didn’t steal the ball, I paid for this” as we begin to exchange words I keep walking. The next thing I know an officer came up to me an said hey sir, you stole that ball. The woman was standing with them accusing me of stealing the ball saying I needed to give it back. Emotions got high as my family and I tried to explain we paid for the ball, it’s ours we own it. We were accosted on all sides having to stoop to her level. This seems to be the American way for people like us. This has happened, far too many times to me personally. My son, I would hope, will never have to experience this again.

Posted by TaMiya Dickerson on Saturday, July 6, 2019

As they were leaving the store, Stallworth and Dickerson said the store manager followed them outside and said they stole the basketball. When they told the manager it was purchased, they continued to go about their business, but that’s when the manager, a white woman, flagged down the police.

#racist #nike #nikesantamonica #BlackLivesMatter #harrassment #walkingwhileblack this is what happens to my family while buying my son a ball

Posted by TaMiya Dickerson on Friday, July 5, 2019

“This is ridiculous,” Dickerson says in a Facebook video. “We purchased this basketball in the store.”

As onlookers took notice of what was going on, the family pulled out their receipts, and the store manager and police officers looked dismayed.

Nike issued a statement that said they reached out to the family and, “We are taking the recent situation at our Santa Monica store very seriously, and we are currently investigating the facts. We will continue to work with our teams to ensure we deliver on our expectations for consumer experiences.”

Stallworth and Dickerson said the incident was frustrating.

“She had zero evidence that I stole anything. She couldn’t have evidence because I bought it. She discriminated against me,” Stallworth told KTLA. “She planted an evil seed in the officer, so as soon as the officer came up to me, he said, ‘Sir, give me the stolen ball.'”

After the incident, the family returned the ball to the store for a refund.

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