Mall under fire as viral video shows black shoppers wrongly accused of shoplifting

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An outlet mall in Eagan is under fire over allegations of racial profiling, after four black shoppers were accused of shoplifting and ordered to leave the premises despite being proven innocent.

A video of the incident at the Twin Cities Premium Outlets was taken by Art Haggins, one of the accused shoppers, and has since gone viral after being posted to his Facebook page, being viewed more than 112,000 times.

FOX 9 reports that Haggins, Chante McCoy, Toni Walton and her 13-year-old daughter were surrounded and searched by six Eagan police officers after a call was made by mall staff alleging they stole $11 eyeliner.

The video shows officers searching through $300 of merchandise the group had bought that day, and even though they found nothing incriminating, the Pioneer Press reports the group was handed a one-year "no trespassing" order meaning they could not return to the mall.

The mall has since rescinded that order, telling FOX 9: "Twin Cities Premium Outlets strictly enforces its code of conduct to maintain a safe shopping environment for all customers.

"We are inviting the customers involved in this matter back to the property so they can continue to enjoy everything that TCPO has to offer."

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Haggins accused the mall of profiling after uploading the video, which you can see in its entirety here (warning: it contains some offensive language).

He later told KSTP: "They told us that the reason they called all the police out there is because people (have) been stealing in groups."

"All black people … don’t steal," he added. “Nobody in my family is a thief.”

"We regret the incident that occurred on our property on March 10 and are working with the Eagan Police Department to ensure that no similar situations occur in the future," a mall spokesperson told KSTP in a separate statement.

The Business Journal reports that the mall has been "a bit on edge" about shoplifting following a spate of incidents that police say are being perpetrated by organized groups.

Speaking to FOX 9, Eagan Police Chief James McDonald said that police have had 31 shoplifting calls to the mall so far this year. He added that the no trespass order was issued to this group at the request of mall officials.

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