Army Veteran Jarrel Bloom, of Miami, FL, was on a transportation assignment in Covina, California yesterday around 2pm when he stopped in to a Walgreens to pick up some personal care items. Bloom had barely begun filling his shopping cart with his shampoo, toothpaste and other items when he was stopped by Covina Police. Bloom was ordered to leave his items in the cart and come with them. What he didn't know is that someone had been shoplifting at the store next to the Walgreens and that another customer, who'd been in the neighboring store, came in and said that HE was the perpetrator!
Bloom allowed the officers to search him and, when they found nothing, he assumed he'd be allowed to continue shopping. He wasn't. Instead the officers told him that the manager had requested that he'd be removed from the store altogether. Thankfully Bloom, who spent a year in Iraq, decided to pull his cellphone out and record the incident before approaching the store's manager. Take a look.
Bloom told us that he "wasn't even going to make a big deal about it after they frisked me but, then they said I had to leave. I was literally shopping. They had no reason besides me being black." The fact that the store manager didn't even have the right description of the shoplifting suspect in the neighboring store is the part that gets us. "There were plenty of other people they could have accused" said Bloom.
We definitely applaud these two police officers for their professionalism and calm during the situation. We're also thankful that this didn't end with Bloom laying on the ground with a knee in his neck.
What we're still disturbed about is the fact that the manager of the Walgreens decided to pull the "why are you attacking me" card after she called the police on an innocent man. Bloom had every right to be angry over what happened to him. "I've filed a complaint but haven't heard back yet," Bloom said. When asked if the store manager ever became sympathetic he said "The lady didn't even apologize for humiliating me like that."
This isn't the way we should be treating people in this country. Even if he did fit the description, once he was cleared, he should have been allowed to finish shopping. We asked Bloom is he went to another store to purchase his items and he replied "No, I didn't. I was bothered by the whole situation" and that he "just went back to" his hotel.
For a country that is so patriotic. . . we need to do better by those who fought for our freedom.