A video uploaded to YouTube last Wednesday shows two African American men, one wearing a surgical mask, being followed by a police officer as they exit a Walmart in Wood River, Illinois. The man who filmed the video, Jermon Best, says it’s an example of racial profiling.
“I don’t know this guy personally,” Best told The Telegraph. “We just want to shine some light because this happens so often.”
“I don’t know if he was having a bad day,” Best said, referring to the police officer in the video. “I’ve never said that the guy was racist. All I’m saying is that his actions were suspect.”
According to Wood River Police Chief Brad Wells, there’s more to the story. Wells told The Telegraph that the officer “was mistaken when it came to the store’s policy prohibiting masks” and it was the only mistake he made during the incident. Wells also suggested that Best and his associate Diangelo Jackson, who can also be seen in the video, falsely accused the officer of harassing them.
“They immediately went into the race issue,” said Wells. “[The officer] didn’t kick them out of the store or refuse entry.”
Wells went on to say that the pair voluntarily chose to remove their masks and leave instead of showing the officer identification.
But according to Best, being a young African American male makes it hard “when you interact with the police because you don’t know what state of mind they’re in.”
Watch the video below: