MORENO VALLEY (CBSLA) — A Black man leaving a Moreno Valley Walmart quickly turned on his camera phone after a woman accused him of stealing her son’s phone.
Ja’Shar Bryant said he was shopping for curtains when he overheard the boy tell his mother that he lost his cellphone. The woman then gestured toward Bryant.
“I felt so uncomfortable, ma’am, I left my basket there,” he said. “I proceed to walk out.”
When Bryant went to leave the store, he said the woman followed him to the parking lot and publicly accused him of stealing her son’s phone.
“I said, ‘Excuse me, do you have my son’s phone? Not, ‘You have my son’s phone,’” the woman can be heard saying in the video. “I did not come at you like that.”
Bryant can be heard replying that she did, in fact, approach him like that and even kept accusing him of stealing the phone even after he told her that he did not have her son’s phone.
When Bryant tried to get to his car, he said the woman kept following him, so he agreed to stay until the police came.
“My only reason why I said, ‘I’ll stay here with her,’ is that I didn’t want to leave,” Bryant said. “[I have] been in the same scenario and I’ve left and been accused of the one stealing something, so I stayed.”
While they were waiting, Bryant walked back into the Walmart to report the harassment to employees.
A few minutes later, the woman’s son approached her with the phone in question that he apparently left in their vehicle.
After the boy walked up to the mom with his phone, Bryant said he was going to be pressing charges and asked for the woman’s name. She declined and told him to “go [expletive] himself” before walking into the store with her two children.
“The message I want to send people is do not let this slide,” Bryant said. “Don’t be scared to do what’s right.”
Bryant said he believes the woman, who works for Kaiser Permanente, racially profiled him because there was no evidence that he stole the phone.