A Virginia man claims he was fired from his security job at Target after a man he reported for shoplifting turned out to be a Leesburg sheriff’s deputy, The Washington Post reports.
According to Dallas Northington, on May 16, 2014, his supervisor told him that he had witnessed a man slipping a tube of toothpaste into a bag of items he had already paid for. The supervisor said he “didn’t feel comfortable” confronting the shoplifter because he suspected he was “some sort of law enforcement.”
On May 27, 2014, the same man returned to the store and approached the register at the pharmacy with two loaded carts. He concealed one of the carts from the cashier, who bagged his items and placed them in the unconcealed cart. After he finished checking out, he then moved the items from the concealed cart into the bags of items he had paid for.
The supervisor still did not feel comfortable confronting the suspect, so he had Northington go to the police station and file a report. A sergeant with the Leesburg police department took his report, then returned to Target with Northington to view surveillance video of the alleged incidents.
“I know who this is,” Northington said the sergeant told him. “This is pretty serious,” he added, noting that the suspect was in law enforcement.
The supervisor later provided Northington with the suspect’s full name, who then relayed that to the Leesburg police.
Three days later, he was called into the store manager’s office and told he had been suspended for two days for violating store policy. The next week, he was fired for “gross misconduct,” allegedly for contacting the Leesburg police without prior approval.
“In my eight years, I’ve never had to call anyone to give out the video or to call police,” Northington told the Post. “I have never seen any policy about contacting law enforcement.”
“I’m confused and don’t understand why,” Northington said. “I’ve been there for eight years, no issues. I’m just trying to provide for my family, and I just really want to get back to work.”
Northington’s lawyer, Declan Leonard, said that he “intends to fight Target on this for as long as it takes.”
No charges have been filed against the officer who was allegedly shoplifting. Lt. Jeff Dube said police “haven’t positively identified this guy. They’re still doing follow-up investigation.”
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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