NEW ORLEANS – A security guard at the Breaux Mart on Magazine Street has been replaced after a confrontation with a black shopper that the shopper says was racially motivated.
The unnamed security guard approached Branson Morgan and his two friends on September 1 as the trio were shopping at the popular locally owned grocery store.
Morgan outlined what happened next in a Facebook post with an accompanying video showing the security guard closely following him through the store.
“Three of us (two white, and me) were in one aisle looking at products (not causing a scene, being disruptive or causing any harm whatsoever) when this security guard comes up, stands about 3 ft from my friends and I and crosses his arms in a very confrontational, oppressive way,” Morgan wrote.
After becoming uncomfortable as the security guard continued his close supervision, Morgan and his friend relocated several aisles over, and the security guard followed closely.
“At this point we felt VERY uncomfortable and it was obvious that he was profiling us, and wanted us to feel unwelcome,” Morgan wrote. “I then tell the man that we have money and are not doing anything wrong. We go a few aisles away to find our friend and tell him to return all of his items, and that we’re not spending money at a store like this.”
Morgan and his friends sought out the manager and reported the confrontation, and the manager replied that he would check the store’s security footage to see if Morgan had a shopping basket with him.
Unsatisfied, Morgan and his friends left the store.
The security guard followed the trio outside and took a picture of their car as they prepared to drive away, Morgan said.
On September 2, the management of the Magazine Street Breaux Mart posted a message on the store’s official Facebook page addressing Morgan’s allegations.
“We are getting to the bottom of what happened,” the message reads. “We’ve reached out to the man in the video privately, and we are looking forward to speaking with him. Breaux Mart has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind and we take this situation very seriously. We treat our employees, and customers equally, no matter what. In the meantime, the security guard on duty has been replaced while we investigate.”
Comments left under Morgan’s post about the encounter have praised Breaux Mart for making a statement and taking steps to address the situation, but many have left comments vowing never to shop at Breaux Mart again.