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Safeway calls police on black woman giving food to homeless man

The Hill logo The Hill 8/2/2018 Avery Anapol
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Video by CBS News

Employees at a Bay Area Safeway called the police on a woman and accused her of shoplifting.

The woman, Erika Martin, was giving food to a homeless man outside of the store, never stepping foot inside the Safeway, according to San Francisco CBS-affiliate KPIX.

Martin told the news outlet that she thinks the employees called the cops on her because she is black.

"Racism still exists," she said.

Martin said she often spends time making care packages for homeless people in the area, and has given to the man outside the Safeway in the past. On the Sunday evening in question, she was giving him food for his dog when multiple officers approached her.

a person posing for the camera © Provided by The Hill "The police just blocks me in. I'm like, 'what's going on?" she told KPIX. "Then [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 said that her son, who had gone into the store to see if the deli was offering cookie samples, was "crying because he thought they were there to arrest him."

Martin told KPIX that Safeway employees suspected her of conspiring with a black man and a group of kids to shoplift and bring items to her car.

A Safeway spokesperson told KPIX that employees called the police because they spotted a man who had shoplifted in the past, and were looking into why Martin was apprehended.

"I blame the Safeway employees and for them to do something like that to me is just hurtful and shameful," Martin said. "I am not going back to that Safeway ever."

A store manager apologized and told Martin that she would receive a call from the company's corporate officials, but she said that she has not yet received a call.

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