Police identify Publix customer who allegedly refused to let Black worker bag her groceries, tried to drive over him

Witnesses to event should call Henrico Police at 804-501-5000

Employees: Customer didn't want to be helped by black teen

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico police were called to a grocery store after a customer allegedly communicated to employees she refused to let a Black person bag her groceries. It led to a scene at the Publix Supermarket at White Oak Village Friday morning. On top of that, employees say the customer then tried to run over the worker with her car.

Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor says she is “aware of this incident,” and is working with Varina District Supervisor Tyrone Nelson, as well as the Henrico NAACP. The NAACP in Henrico is requesting to speak with police about the case.

“I almost cried. I’m fighting back tears now,” an employee told NBC12, asking not to be identified.

Employees say a customer notified staff she didn’t want the teenager who was about to bag her groceries to do it because he’s Black.

“He proceeded to tell the manager. {The manager} said just to walk away and {the customer} bagged her own groceries,” the employee said.

The teen then went outside to collect shopping carts at approximately 12:30 p.m. That’s when an employee says the woman tried to run the teen over with her car. Police sources say they’re not sure whether the woman was a bad driver or if she did it on purpose but sources say officers have obtained surveillance video and are reviewing it.

Employees believe it was intentional.

The worker says managers called police and that one manager even shed a tear because of the entire ordeal.

“This is a 15-year-old boy and you tried to end his life. You tried to run him over with your car when he did nothing to you, and I just don’t see how people can be so hateful to someone that they don’t know,” the employee said.

Police sources say the customer was driving a silver or gold Ford Taurus. Sources said police have identified the woman accused.

NBC 12 has learned police are now questioning the customer to get her side of the story and that officers obtained a piece of paper that the woman wrote on when communicating to store staff.

Witnesses to this event should contact Henrico Police at 804-501-5000.

“I hope and pray that Henrico’s finest finds her…It’s outrageous that we have to live in this world and tolerate this…He’s just trying to do his job,” the employee added.

In a statement to NBC12 Publix wrote:

“The safety and well being of our associates is our priority. We do not condone racism of any form in our stores. We are cooperating with local law enforcement in their investigation and have provided them with surveillance video.”
Statement from Publix

A Publix spokesperson says they will be providing counseling to those who were impacted by the incident.

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