Suffolk group accuses area Walmart of racist sales practice

SUFFOLK, Va. (WRIC/WAVY) — A group in Suffolk is accusing three Virginia Walmart stores of offensive sales practices.

The group is called “Making Change at Walmart.”

They say that the stores are racially discriminating against customers by locking up certain African-American hair products.

A Walmart spokesperson said that the security measures have nothing to do with race, and went further saying “any claim otherwise is false and offensive.”

8News affiliate WAVY reporters spoke with Randy Parraz, the director of the campaign.

“We cannot find any other Walmart that’s doing this,” Parraz said. “This is forcing African-American shoppers to have a different experience.”

Parraz spoke to WAVY from outside of Suffolk City Hall, where he was joined by several other members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

According to Making Change at Walmart, the locked products serve as proof of discrimination. Parraz stated that the security creates an uncomfortable situation for African-American shoppers.

“You gotta sit there, wait, they’ve gotta call a manager to get a key and open up a box for a $1.97 [product]… it’s a humiliating process for paying customers,” Parraz said.

The Walmart spokesperson said that products are secured based on shoplifting data, which is individualized for particular stores.

“Making Change at Walmart” spoke before Suffolk City Council on Wednesday. The group has launched a petition and plans to deliver it to the North Main Street Walmart at 10 a.m. Thursday.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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