Nordstrom Rack in Brentwood Apologizes to Black Teens Falsely Accused of Shoplifting


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Nordstrom may be best known for its lenient return policy, but "disturbing discrimination" is running a close second after an incident at a St. Louis County location last Thursday.

KMOV reports that a trio of black teenagers were shopping for prom gear at the Nordstrom Rack in Brentwood (1585 S. Brentwood Blvd.) when they noticed that employees were following them around the store and watching their moves closely. And the customers were apparently no better — one woman, they said, called them "punks."

Although the unwanted attention made them nervous, Mekhi Lee, Dirone Taylor and Eric Rogers II tried to carry on. Lee, a freshman at Alabama A&M University, was so nervous he called his mother, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. His mother encouraged him to talk to the manager and try to explain there was nothing wrong, but the manager reportedly never showed up.

They made their purchases and exited the store. But at that point, the three were met in the parking lot by Brentwood PD. The young men said that the officers treated them well and after a quick investigation they were released on the spot.

Rogers II told KMOV, "The police were actually good. They understood where we were coming from and they showed us that they were just doing their job."

The president of Nordstrom Rack, Geevy Thomas, has flown to St. Louis to review training practices and policies with employees and to apologize to the young men in person. The St. Louis chapter of the NAACP is also getting involved and has volunteered to work with Nordstrom Rack to assist with employee training.

In a statement, Nordstrom Rack said, “We didn’t handle this situation well, and we apologized to these young men and their families. We’re enhancing our internal practices and trainings to help ensure this doesn’t happen again. We want all customers to feel welcome when they shop with us, and we don’t tolerate discrimination of any kind.”

Note: This post has been updated.

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