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Shaw's Apologizes To African American Man Banned From Store

NNECAPA Photo Library
Rory Ferreira was asked for ID while buying groceries from Shaw's.

Shaw’s grocery store executives are apologizing to an African American man after an incident this week in their Saco store. The man says he was singled out because of his race.

Rory Ferreira’s says his experience at Shaw’s this week has him feeling vulnerable in the state he calls home.

“I'm not new to this community,” Ferreira says. “I'm not someone who rabble-rouses in this community. I love where I live. I love my neighbors. I love Maine.”

According to Ferreira, a musician who runs Soulfolks Records in Biddeford, he was purchasing groceries and alcohol with his wife and child, when a clerk asked the both Ferreira and his wife for their ID’s.

Ferreira and his wife have both shopped at the store regularly, and Ferreira says they have never before both had to present an ID for similar purchases.

While his wife went outside to retrieve hers from the car, he asked to see a manager to make sure he understood the policy. Ferreira says he wanted to make sure it was being applied to all customers equally.

"I did say ‘look I'm not trying to be rude, we're just a young black family in America, and I want to make sure we're being treated the same as anyone else. That's the only reason I asked about this policy and it was not to throw a fork in your day.’"

Ferreira and his family left the store. Shortly after they arrived home, a police officer showed up to issue a notice of "no trespassing" at Shaws. He says that scared him.

“When you call the police on me and have them at my house for asking about a policy because you don't like me, I have to wonder what you wanted to have happen to me,” Ferreira says.

For Ferreira, it suggested that there was more at stake than a bag of groceries and some alcohol.

“I feel it's my duty to know that police in this place know,” he says. “Shaw's knows, and other corporations know, that Black folks aren't scared of them.”

By Wednesday morning, after their story was shared on social media, Ferreira and his family were meeting Shaws' vice president of retail operations. Ken Rinaldi apologized for the incident and the "no trespassing" notice was dropped. But the store manager, identified only as Bethany, refused to apologize or even meet with Ferreira.

He says it is not just an apology he's looking for.

"I said I just need my neighbor, Bethany, to come in and admit a fault. I just need her to be like, ‘look, I got hot-headed, maybe I'm not used to people like you or whatever. And maybe I reacted poorly, whatever, whatever, but you are welcome back here sir, and I'm sorry.’ That's all I needed."

Ferreira has reached out to the ACLU of Maine and is now considering legal action.

Updated 4:07 p.m. June 22, 2018.