A man filmed his encounter with a woman who he says followed him out of a California Walmart and falsely accused him of stealing her son’s phone.
The video, shared to social media by Ya’shear Bryant on July 12, does not show how the encounter began, but shows Bryant and a woman standing in a parking outside of a Walmart store in Moreno Valley.
The woman seemed to believe her son’s phone had been stolen and said a tracker showed that it was in Bryant’s possession.
“She accused me of stealing her son’s phone, followed me outside the store. First she was eyeing me in the store. … I know I’m Black with tattoos, so she automatically assumes I have it,” Bryant said in the video. “His location says it’s me. I [don’t] have her son’s phone but she’s followed me outside of Walmart here in Moreno Valley.” Bryant said he was in the store looking at blinds at the time of the incident.
“I didn’t follow you, I came looking for the location,” his accuser said.
“She runs up to me and says, ‘Excuse me, you have my son’s phone?’ I pull my phone out and tell her no, I do not, as well as my money and my ID and tell her who I am and I do not steal and she continues,” Bryant said, adding that the reason he was sticking around to record was because he didn’t have the phone.
When Bryant asked if he could have the woman’s name, she replied, “Let’s call the cops.”
“No problem at all,” Bryant said.
The woman said she asked Bryant nicely if she had her son’s phone, saying, “I did not come at you like that.”
“No, you did,” Bryant said. “And when you’re running after me and following me, I’ve been racially profiled for so long, and I am very scared of that.”
Bryant then reiterated that the reason why he was waiting was “because you’re wrong” then questioned what would happen when the woman finally realized he didn’t have her son’s phone.
“What’ll happen when you’re wrong?” he asked. “What do I get, just an apology?”
“Sure,” the woman said.
“That’s not good enough for me,” Bryant said, turning away. The woman then stepped toward him, saying, “No, we’re staying here until you give me my phone, because it marks that you’re here.”
Bryant continued to deny that he had the phone, saying, “Ma’am, you’re really crazy. You’re following me now.”
“Now I am,” she said. “That phone has cost me money.”
Bryant turned to the camera, saying he was “definitely pressing charges” for racial profiling.
The two entered the Walmart again, and Bryant told an employee she had run after him. When the employee told Bryant he couldn’t record, he replied, “this is for my safety.” Seconds later the woman’s son approached with his phone in his hand.
When Bryant asked for the woman’s name — some on social media are claiming it is Liz de la Torres — repeating that he would be pressing charges, she replied, “No. You go f-ck yourself.”
As the video of the encounter was shared on social media users noticed the shirt she was wearing said Kaiser Permanente. The health care company announced it was investigating the incident.
“Thank you for sharing this,” the company statement said. “This video has been brought to our attention and we are actively investigating it. The conduct in this video does not in any way reflect the views or beliefs of Kaiser Permanente.”