George Floyd died in police custody after a corner store clerk reported he had used a fake $20 bill, a nonviolent offense so low-level that police don’t usually take people to jail for it.
Now, as the trial over his death continues to unfold, criminal justice reform experts and diversity specialists are hoping the case will prompt retailers – from small businesses to major chains – to reassess how they treat Black and other minority customers and how they can handle loss prevention cases more equitably.
Retailers, they point out, are on the front lines of racial justice in their own stores.
“While interactions with the police can be fairly infrequent, everyone shops,” said Cassi Pittman Claytor, a sociology professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, who has studied racial profiling in retail settings. “When Black people are asked about the contexts where they are treated unfairly due to their race … shopping in a store ranks above all other settings, including interactions with the police.”
Since Floyd’s death last May, many retailers have made public promises committing to racial equity. Several companies, including Twin Cities-based Target and Best Buy, have shared their plans to diversify hiring and made financial contributions to Black-owned businesses and organizations focused on fighting inequality.
But some criminal justice reform advocates say retailers need to do more to create and enforce policies to address how racial bias negatively impacts customers… The Detroit News