(WJBK) - One week after a local woman says she was racially profiled at a Target store in Southfield, a second woman has come forward saying she was also subjected to a similar encounter with store security.
"We now have enough evidence to know empirically that Target targets black people," said attorney Jasmine Rand.
Rand and supporters gathered Monday along with 20-year-old Ashonae Davis, who says she was falsely accused of stealing, racially profiled and forced to undress at a Southfield Target.
Also at the press conference a second woman, Erica Anderson, with claims of harassment at the same store.
"I was very agitated, hurt, confused. I cried the whole ride home," Anderson said.
After seeing Davis's story on FOX 2 last week, Anderson decided to go public about her experience at the same store on Southfield Road. Anderson said she left the store last November after failing to return an item. The receipt was sitting on top.
"She was accosted from behind by a loss prevention employee in plain clothing," said Rand, a Civil Rights attorney. "Who grabbed her arm, and aggressively dragged her back into the store."
Anderson says the officer didn't identify themselves, so at first, she thought someone was trying to rob her. After a manager was called, Anderson was eventually let go.
"But not after leaving bruises on her arm," Rand said. "And the indentation of the woman's fingernail in Erica's arm which we have photographic evidence of."
Anderson says she was so upset, she contacted Target's corporate office by phone and email but got no response.
"Why is it, Target, that we have to hold press conferences for you to respond to your customers about complaints of racial profiling," Rand said.
Rand says within the past week a half a dozen witnesses have come forward from the Southfield store and dozens more from across the country.
"We've had calls from former employees that have witnessed discrimination, former employees that themselves have been racially profiled," said Rand. "Black women who have had similar experiences at Target where they were asked to remove their clothing."
Still gathering evidence, potential witnesses and victims to file a lawsuit, Rand is hoping to also start a national conversation. She is asking those with similar experiences to tell their stories using the hashtag #targetedbytarget.
"I feel much better that I'm not standing alone on this," said Davis.
Rand said this will not go away: "Starbucks did it. So can you."
WEB EXTRA: A statement by Target after deadline was released. It is below:
"At Target, we want our stores to be welcoming places for all guests and want everyone to have a positive experience every time they engage with our team. However, we know there are times when we fall short, and in those situations we do everything we can to make it right with our guests and reinforce Target’s expectations with our team members.
Immediately after the incident with Ms. Davis, a Southfield store leader spoke with her to apologize and we launched a full investigation with our team. As part of the investigation, we terminated the store’s security team member the day after the incident for not following Target’s defined security procedures and took disciplinary action with other involved team members. Additionally, Target’s head of store security and our regional leadership team went to Southfield last week to meet with the store team and reinforce our security procedures and expectations for how we engage with our guests.
While we’re not in a position to comment specifically on today’s allegations, we will immediately review the concerns raised. We take all allegations of employee misconduct seriously and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We regularly train our team members to uphold Target’s values, including longstanding security training, unconscious bias training that’s been rolling out to our entire team since 2017, and guest service training. We want our team members, guests and all families to know we will never tolerate anything except respect and inclusion for everyone."