The news story I am printing below was in the Denver Post today. The young man is a good friend of my kids. He is also biracial- half black and half white. I was shocked when I read the story, but was sickened as I read the comments. His race was on trial. I know this young man and if these commentors knew who they were talking about, it might change some of what they said…
Racial profiling at Denver Safeway store alleged
By Felisa Cardona
The Denver Post
An African-American teen accused of stealing who was detained and searched by employees at Safeway was a victim of racial profiling, according to an investigation by Denver’s Anti-Discrimination Office.
The agency’s Nov. 5 finding of discrimination says “there is reasonable cause to believe that this is not an isolated incident but rather a pattern or practice of engaging in such racial profiling.”
Brandon Anderson-Thayer, now 18, filed a complaint against Safeway alleging discrimination, and the agency’s finding allows him to proceed with a civil lawsuit, said his attorney, Mari Newman.
Safeway contends there is no evidence to support the allegations.
“Our company has a long-standing reputation for fair and unbiased dealings with customers, employees and the communities that we serve,” said Safeway spokeswoman Kris Staaf. “The DADO’s probable-cause determination in this case resulted from an inadvertent failure of the company to respond to a DADO administrative request and is not a finding on the merits.
“Safeway is committed to continuing to defend against the claims made here, as well as continuing our efforts to resolve this matter with the DADO.”
On Oct. 14, 2008, Anderson-Thayer, then 17, went to the Safeway at 1653 S. Colorado Blvd. to buy some snacks after school.
He was with two friends, Hassan Robinson, who is also black, and Joe Vilante, who is Pacific Islander.
Anderson-Thayer was handcuffed by security as he bought some hot chocolate from schoolmate Jessica Molendyk, who was working at a breast-cancer awareness stand to raise money.
“The manager’s only stated reasons for accusing Mr. Anderson-Thayer and his friends of theft were the fact that Mr. Anderson-Thayer and his friends apparently ‘looked suspicious’ and that the manager had problems with ‘kids like them’ in the past,” said a report by Lucía Guzmán, executive director of Human Rights and Community Relations, which oversees DADO.
Molendyk told DADO that Safeway head clerk Brandon Nance directed security guards to follow black teens in the store for no apparent reason and that she often observed Nance making racist jokes.
The teens were not carrying any backpacks that would help them conceal items and they paid for the snacks they had, the report said. For a half-hour, the teens were held in an upstairs office and searched and interrogated, the report said.
“By targeting Mr. Anderson-Thayer and his friends for discriminatory surveillance, search and seizure, Safeway denied the teenagers ‘full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations’ of Safeway,” wrote Guzmán.
DADO does not issue fines or sanctions against a business when there is a finding of discrimination.
The goal of the agency is to bring the parties together to come to a settlement or a resolution. If it can’t be worked out, legal action may be pursued by the person who filed the complaint, Guzmán said.
The finding said that Anderson-Thayer’s testimony is “credible” and that the affidavits filed by his two friends and Molendyk corroborate his statements.
Representatives from Safeway met twice with DADO and Anderson-Thayer for mediation but no significant progress was made, the report said.
When Safeway’s attorney was contacted for a third meeting, the company did not respond.
However, Safeway is still trying to resolve the case and is expected to continue to provide information to the agency even though deadlines were missed.
Guzmán said the discrimination finding does not mean a solution can’t be worked out.
“Our major work is the hope that resolution occurs,” she said, “and we will always stand ready to help facilitate positive resolutions.”
COMMENTS ON THE NEWSPAPERS WEBSITE-
There has to be more to this story, it just doesn’t jive as written. And look at the picture of the kid…he looks white!
The fact that they didn’t catch him means they are bad at their jobs. You can’t detain people and put people in handcuffs when they haven’t stolen anything. This kid is playing victim and looking for a quick payday and the Post looks like they are going to help him.
Good for Safeway. This defense for breaking the law is perposterous. I’m going to start shopping at Safeway as long as they keep racially profiling
This has nothing to do with the kid’s rights or profiling. It’s all about money. If Safeway had given the kid a nice settlement to go away, we’d be hearing nothing about racial profiling “blah, blah, blah…” and he’d be over at the Best Buy picking out a new iPod and Stereo Speakers for his car like any teen would.
It’s the old “Jessie Jackson (Operation Push) shake down” Works every time.
im saying is that if the guy in that photo claims he was racially profiled because he is black…well then he has no case because he isnt black.
that kid is white as white gets! Let me guess, he probably listens to rap and has saggy pants, so he calls himself black…uh…sorry, African American. If he is from South Africa I’ll give him this one!
i`m looking into my crystal ball…i see it ..still fuzzy.. i see an..escalade in someones future!
And Brandon’s mother must have read this all and responded-
I am Brandon’s mom. He did not steal (nor has he ever stolen) and the actual stated reason, according to witnesses, why they were followed was because the security (a private firm, not DPD) had been instructed to follow all African-Americans. They were followed from the time they entered the store. He was handcuffed (in front of a friend no less-humiliating) and held for at least a half hour. He was a minor and I was never notified. If that happened to your child, would you just let it go? The stress sent him into an epileptic seizure when he got home (a pre-existing condition). Brandon and his friends have shopped there since all of their lives; it is our “neighborhood” store.
How should they have behaved? They were dressed like most men under 30, they had no backpacks and they paid for everything…. and they were still in the store, buying hot chocolate from a Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser, hardly a action buy someone trying to hide something.
To clarify a few points, he chooses how he wants to be identified, as an African-American. We took this to the city because we want the store to change their policy and become more sensitive in how they treat the community. We took it public because the community needs to understand that, even though it is 2009, these things still happen on a regular basis. Most of what we were asking for was that they make amends and form relationships with the African-American community and the school that the kids attend (which is predominately minority and where the kids often come to shop). No Escalade for this family.
Unless you are a minority in this city, you are probably not aware of how young minority males are profiled on a regular basis. I see this happening in the community all of time. This was not the first time for Brandon or his friends to be profiled for “walking while black” and for these young people, it forces them into a position of always having to be on the defense. We are here to say, ” ENOUGH”!
Here’s the news story from the AP->
Interracial couple denied marriage license in LA
If I wasn’t upset about another ‘crazies being flushed out from the dark corners’ and I have completely run out of my silver bullets or Anti-Zombie sprinkles, I’d just think this was silly. No, I am not surprised it was a Louisiana Justice of the Peace. I lived down south for several years. I remember being told that the JP in Lamar County, Mississippi wouldn’t marry an interracial couple. I don’t think he had such nobel intentions.
For the sake of the children?
Trust me, my offspring are suffering a lot less than your children are.
Thanks for your concern though.
Why don’t we have a nationwide Interracial Family organization? We could have conventions, with t-shirts and key chains. We could do are first official protest in Louisiana.
Kat, we are all staying at your house. K?
This is another guest post from Laura, originally posted at I am the Glue: I am not a “person with autism.” I am an autistic person. Although I don’t have a child with Autistm, I found it very applicable to my ADHD child. One of my biggest struggles is to see my son for the person that he is, not the child that I wanted or expected him to be.
DON’T MOURN FOR US – by Jim Sinclair
[This article was published in the “Our Voice,” the newsletter of Autism Network International, Volume 1, Number 3, 1993. It is an outline of the presentation I gave at the 1993 International Conference on Autism in Toronto, and is addressed primarily to parents.]
Parents often report that learning their child is autistic was the most traumatic thing that ever happened to them. Non-autistic people see autism as a great tragedy, and parents experience continuing disappointment and grief at all stages of the child’s and family’s life cycle.
But this grief does not stem from the child’s autism in itself. It is grief over the loss of the normal child the parents had hoped and expected to have. Parents’ attitudes and expectations, and the discrepancies between what parents expect of children at a particular age and their own child’s actual development, cause more stress and anguish than the practical complexities of life with an autistic person.
Some amount of grief is natural as parents adjust to the fact that an event and a relationship they’ve been looking forward to isn’t going to materialize. But this grief over a fantasized normal child needs to be separated from the parents’ perceptions of the child they do have: the autistic child who needs the support of adult caretakers and who can form very meaningful relationships with those caretakers if given the opportunity. Continuing focus on the child’s autism as a source of grief is damaging for both the parents and the child, and precludes the development of an accepting and authentic relationship between them. For their own sake and for the sake of their children, I urge parents to make radical changes in their perceptions of what autism means.
I invite you to look at our autism, and look at your grief, from our perspective:
Autism is not an appendage – Autism isn’t something a person has, or a “shell” that a person is trapped inside. There’s no normal child hidden behind the autism. Autism is a way of being. It is pervasive; it colors every experience, every sensation, perception, thought, emotion, and encounter, every aspect of existence. It is not possible to separate the autism from the person–and if it were possible, the person you’d have left would not be the same person you started with.
This is important, so take a moment to consider it: Autism is a way of being. It is not possible to separate the person from the autism.
Therefore, when parents say,
“I wish my child did not have autism,”
what they’re really saying is,
“I wish the autistic child I have did not exist, and I had a different (non-autistic) child instead.” Read more…
A prejudice is a preconceived belief, opinion or judgment especially toward a group of people characterized by their race, social class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or religion. Also, it means a priori beliefs (without knowledge of the facts) and includes “any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence.” Although positive and negative prejudice both exist, when used negatively, “prejudice” implies fear and antipathy toward such a group.
For several years now, I have been getting into conversations more and more about how people respond to prejudice behavior. As a mother with an interracial family, I have talked with other parents with similar families across this country about their experiences and their attitudes. With the topics of race and gay marriage again and again being in the headlines for quite some time now, everyone is joining in.
I think that several things affect your view about how to deal with people who say ignorant, ugly things about groups of people. As individuals we are certainly shaped by the attitudes of our family and community. Negative situations fuel fear, anger and impatience. But a person’s basic attitude in life changes their perception of what other’s people’s intentions are, how to respond, and how effective you are at making an impact on the person who said or did something prejudice. Read more…
I used to have some really lofty ideas about “people who drug their kids to make them behave” back before I had a child with ADHD. Today’s guest blogger, Laura, wrote a blog that touched me deeply. She wisely reminds us to give others not only the benefit of the doubt, but our support as well. Parenting a special needs child can be very isolating for the whole family. ~ Cyndi
I have a ‘friend’ who her and her husband are trying to live a perfect life. They have 2 children, a boy and a girl, and they seem to project that everything in their world is clean, orderly, and going as planned. They have the view that if you make a plan, and follow it perfectly, then your children will turn out exactly how you ordered them. The expectation is the son will be gifted in sports, like dad, and the daughter will follow in her mother’s highly organized, academically superior ways.
They are very judgemental when they see other people’s children who are alternative, rebellious, or struggling, they always assume the cause is poor parenting. I saw a crisis coming with my friend. And it is starting to come to full bloom. Read more…