Gwinnett County

Gwinnett man banned from Walmart after being told he ‘fit the description’ of shoplifter

SUWANEE, Ga. — A Gwinnett County man says he has been banned from a Walmart for a year because he was wrongly accused of being a shoplifter.

Leroy Jackson was searched by Suwanee police last Thursday at the Walmart on Lawrenceville Suwanee Road after store employees called police to report two shoplifters.

An officer stopped Jackson as he was leaving the store after browsing while waiting for his car to be repaired nearby. Jackson says he was told he “fit the description” of shoplifting suspects.

“I do feel like it was profiling,” said Jackson, who is African-American. “It’s really embarrassing. I feel very humiliated.”

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Jackson told Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson that a stranger in Walmart approached him around 5 p.m. and asked for advice about an item in the store.

He says he told the man to speak with a Walmart employee about it. Soon after that exchange, the man, who identified himself as homeless, was arrested for allegedly stealing $214 worth of items, according to Suwanee police.

“Total stranger,” said Jackson. “I don’t know the guy at all.”

According to a police report, the responding officer wrote, “I did not find any property that belonged to Walmart. Walmart advised they wanted Jackson criminally trespassed because they stated they saw him associating with another male in the store that had stolen merchandise.”


When Jackson spoke to a manager at the location, he says he was told the one-year ban that comes with being criminally trespassed could not be reversed.

“I guess it kind of felt like, ‘Oh, so he’s African-American along with another African-American who actually was stealing, so he’s automatically a suspect,’” said Jackson.

The incident happened as Walmart has reported 475 shoplifting incidents to Suwanee police, according to police data.

“Police did everything they were supposed to do,” Jackson said. “My beef is not with police it’s with Walmart, period.”

Jackson says he won’t be returning to the location or any other one in the future.

“If you are African-American or a person of color, just be careful who you speak to, because you will be automatically lumped up with them,” he said.

A Walmart spokesperson referred Johnson to the Suwanee police report for information and offered no further comment.

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