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.
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.
“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.