DANVERS, Massachusetts (WCVB) — A member of the Cambridge School Committee says her family faced racial profiling and was accused of theft this week while visiting an apple orchard in Danvers, Massachusetts.
Now, both the town and the farm are issuing written apologies.
In a letter posted online, Manikka Bowman, vice-chair of the Cambridge School Committee, and Jeff Myers said their family was stopped at Connors Farm for having too many apples that were not in designated, pre-paid bags.
“I assumed we’d have a chance to pay for the extras in our final checkout. With families being primary customers, surely, we couldn’t be the first to have excitedly over-picked by a few apples—six in our case,” they wrote.
The family said the Bowman’s purse was searched by security guards and the police were called.
“The police officer was tempered. However, despite our visible frustration and attempts to explain the situation, he never took our position seriously. Rather, his actions and words assumed that the manager’s narrative was accurate and then accused us of ‘playing the race card,'” the family wrote.
On Thursday, Danvers Town Officials issued a written statement responding to the family’s letter.
“The Town extends its apologies for the unsettling experience the family had at a local business and for the comment made by a Danvers employee,” officials wrote, in part. “Let us be very clear, discriminatory behavior has no place in Danvers, or in any community.”
The farm also posted a statement expressing regret over the incident.
“We regret the incident that happened this past weekend. We have extended our personal apology to the family. We do our best to train our employees to handle all customer issues with courtesy and respect at all times. We are taking further steps to ensure that staff will undergo diversity, equity and inclusion training. Please know that everybody is welcome on our farm,” they wrote.
“It’s the small moments that take place at an apple orchard that impact people’s lives and shape them,” Bowman said.
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