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Target investigating employee who ‘admits’ to alleged racial profiling

Click to play video: 'Target investigating after Minnesota employee ‘admits’ to racially profiling Iowa man' Target investigating after Minnesota employee ‘admits’ to racially profiling Iowa man
WATCH ABOVE: Target is investigating after video was posted to Facebook of a Minnesota store employee "admitting" to racially profiling an Iowa man – Mar 1, 2018

Target is investigating a case of alleged racial profiling after an Iowa man posted a video to Facebook on Feb. 24, claiming he was racially profiled at one of the company’s Minnesota stores.

James Edward Wright III, 27, says he was at the Target in Waconia, Minn., to purchase headphones and a pair of boots when he says the incident happened. Though from Des Moines, Iowa, Wright travels for his construction job.

He said in an interview with Global News that when he asked to look at the details of the headphones he wanted to buy before making the purchase, he was told he “was not allowed to”  and was told it was store policy.

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“He then told me he’s had people run off with the headphones before, basically insinuating I was going to do the same,” he said.

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Wright said he still purchased the items, but then asked a store manager about the policy after explaining what happened.

“After speaking with the manager and telling her the situation in the electronics department, and how I felt the employee profiled me … She told me it could be policy, policy changes all the time,” he said.

Following this, he went outside and says he spoke with Target’s corporate team, who told him customers can handle products before they are purchased.

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Wright says he returned to the store to look into another pair of headphones “to see if I got treated the same way” but said it was the same employee.

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In a Facebook video posted by Wright, an employee is seen “admitting” to profiling after saying he would admit to profiling if the Iowa man left the store.

“So, you admit it?” Wright asked in the video.

“Sure, yeah,” the employee said. “Well, I mean, if you’re going to leave if I say, ‘Yeah I did it,’ then yeah.”

Wright asks the employee again if he admits to racially profiling him, to which the employee responds: “Yeah, sure.”

In an email to Global News, Target spokesperson Danielle Schumann said they were investigating the incident which they say occurred Feb. 23.

“We take situations like this seriously and are sorry for the experience at our Waconia store,” Schumann said. “We want our guests to feel welcome and respected every time they shop at our stores.

“We’ve spoken with the store manager and have taken action to investigate and address the situation.”

Asked why he felt profiled, Wright says he’s been profiled before and hadn’t heard of a handling policy like this because he’s worked retail before.

“I’ve also purchased big ticket items before and never had any trouble handling the products before buying them,” he said.

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Global News also asked Wright what he would say if people questioned the employee’s admittance as a way to get him to leave the store.

“My response for that is if you wholeheartedly didn’t mean that or feel that, you wouldn’t agree no matter what the situation,” Wright said. “I don’t believe you admit to something you don’t feel or you didn’t do.”

Before leaving the store, he engages in discussion with a manager telling her that the employee admitted to racially profiling him on camera.

She tells him to turn his camera off, to which he asks ‘Why?’ before saying it’s “ridiculous.”

“This is Target, a huge corporation,” Wright said.

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“I have apologized for this situation,” the manager says before telling the employee to come with her.

As they walk away, Wright can be heard saying he would be reporting them.

He says the issue is “bigger than me,” and that he hopes people will report racial profiling if they feel it’s happening to them.

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