*Add two more incidents to the growing list of black people being reported to the police unnecessarily.
Oumou Kanoute, a black sophomore at Smith College in Massachusetts, is currently working at a summer program teaching chemistry to high schoolers for Smith’s STEM programs. According to her post on Facebook, she was on a break and reading in the dining hall of the Tyler House dorm Tuesday when… “Next thing you know, I see the cop walk in with a Smith employee whom I’ve never seen before and the man said, ‘We were wondering why you’re here?”‘
“I was eating lunch,” Kanoute cordially responded. “I’m working the summer program so I was just relaxing on the couch.”
The cop apologized to her and attempted to justify the white staffer’s concern, stating, “From the doorway he didn’t know who it was.”
Smith College President Kathleen McCartney apologized to Kanoute and said that “we continue to fall short even as we continue to make progress.”
“This painful incident reminds us of the ongoing legacy of racism and bias in which people of color are targeted while simply going about the business of their daily lives,” McCartney said. “It is a powerful reminder that building an inclusive, diverse and sustainable community is urgent and ongoing work.”
Meanwhile, at a Safeway in Mountain View, California, Erika Martin had just purchased dog food for the dog of a homeless man who is usually found outside of the store.
She was attempting to give the dog food to the man when cops suddenly appeared and blocked her way.
“The police just blocks me in. I’m like, ‘what’s going on?’” recalled Martin, who is African-American, to the local CBS affiliate.
Turns out, Safeway employees thought she was conspiring with another black man and a group of kids to shoplift. Martin recalled: “Then she [the officer] was like ‘well, we were called here because you fit the description of someone taking items out of Safeway and bringing it back to your car.’”
Martin, for the record, never stepped foot in the store, or got out of her vehicle. Martin says her son went to the deli inside to check if cookie samples were available, as he has done on many occassions. Only this time, he returned to the car to find his mom surrounded by cops.
“He was like crying because he thought they were there to arrest him,” Martin recalled.
Later police realized they had the wrong person because Martin didn’t even match the description of the suspect. Now, Martin is accusing the store employees and cops of racially profiling.
“Racism still exists,” she said. “I blame the Safeway employees and for them to do something like that to me is just hurtful and shameful.”
“I am not going back to that Safeway ever,” she added.
A store manager apologized and reportedly told Martin that someone from Safeway’s corporate officer would reach out to her. At press time, she said she was still waiting for the call.
Watch a report on Martin’s ordeal below: