Thousand Oaks

Three Black Teens Wrongly Accused of Being Shoplifting Decoys at SoCal Target

In a statement, Target says it's deeply sorry about what happened at the store in Thousand Oaks.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Three Black teenagers were temporarily detained by deputies over the weekend at a Target after they were falsely accused by a security team member of being decoys in a shoplifting at the Thousand Oaks store. 

Aaron Frederickson and two friends were at the store Sunday. Video shows the teens in the custody of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies called by store security, who accused the teens of being decoys in a cell phone theft, said civil rights attorney Toni Jarmilla, who represents the teens.

“Somebody grabbed my hands, put them behind me. Cuffed me,” said 16-year-old Aaron. “I’m like, ‘Yo, what’s going on? I don’t understand what’s going on?’”

Jaramilla said the teens were the only Black customers in the store at the time of the shoplifting report. 

“The perpetrator of that theft, we understand, is African American,” said Jaramilla. “They were the only African American patrons in the store. They went directly to them.”

Target issued the following statement: “We want all Target guests to feel welcome whenever they shop in our stores. We’re deeply sorry for what happened and we’ve terminated the team member who was involved.

“We expect our team members to follow Target security processes and treat all guests with respect. Additionally, all leaders at the store will retake mandatory security and racial bias training.


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"Finally, and most importantly, we are reaching out to all of the guests who were involved to offer a personal apology."

Details about the shoplifting report were not immediately available. NBC4 is attempting to confirm when a police report was filed in connection with the shoplifting case.

Aaron and his friends were eventually released from custody.

Aaron’s adoptive mother said she was appalled by the series of events that ended with him in handcuffs. 

“I always thought racial profiling was a bit exaggerated in our society and it won’t be affecting Aaron,” Chris Frederickson said. 

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