Portia Roberson is an attorney and the head of Detroit’s Civil Rights and Justice Department. She fell victim to racial profiling while shopping at Talbots on Kercheval. She had this to say about the incident in a Facebook post tagged #postracial.
“I was in Grosse Pointe today at the Talbots on Kercheval. I had a somewhat large bag with me as well as my purse because I am returning two purchases that I ordered online and I needed a way to carry them in the store. I inform the sales clerk when I walk in that I have the second bag because I have two items to return, however, I want to look around first. I try on a pair of pants that I like so I come back out to see if they have another pair in a different color. I go back into the fitting room to make sure those fit also. I convince myself that I need both pairs (of course) and leave the fitting room to pay for my items and return the others. When I exit the fitting room, I’m confronted by two Grosse Pointe police officers who ask to search my bag and ask me if I have any merchandise in the bag. I tell them to go ahead and search and point out the items and the receipt. He tells me it is clear that someone made a mistake and then takes my bag to the store manager to point out that everything that I have in my possession, I have purchased. They take my name, address, and phone number so it is on “record.” I then proceed to the counter to give them back all the items that I had intended to purchase and to return everything that I had previously purchased. The manager’s explanation was that she had asked the police to do a walk around the store because it was so busy (four customers, including me)…I pointed out to her that after searching me, they left without searching anyone else. I must tell you that my hands were shaking and my voice cracked when speaking. Honestly, I am still shaken. Today, I received a very harsh reminder and I will be calling corporate headquarters in the morning.”