Nikkita Oliver alleges racist security at Seattle Safeway
Former Seattle mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver says video she took inside a grocery store of a security guard following two black teens is further proof of racism in modern America.
“While I’m walking through the aisle … I see two young black people walk by me,” Oliver said in a Facebook video.
“As a youth worker here in the neighborhood, I noticed them. I see them. I gave a little head nod,” she said. “Then I also see a security guard walk by me very swiftly. It wasn’t my desire to get into anything at the Safeway … I turn and I’m thinking ‘Is this security guard following these young people?’ And I see he is following them. He’s following them very quickly.”
The incident happened at the Rainier Beach Safeway in Seattle. Oliver confronted the security guard and started recording her interaction with him. In the four days since the video was posted on Nov. 12, it has been shared 2,150 times, and has been viewed nearly 333,000 times. The only insight into the video is from a second video Oliver posted two days later. In the second video, she explains how she eventually confronted the guard about his behavior. According to her, he said “I’ve been doing this job for a while now and I know how to spot when someone is going to do something.”
Oliver said that the young men noticed her confronting the guard and told her that they knew they were being followed.
At this point, Oliver’s Facebook Live video takes over, recording her interaction with the guard who leads her to store management. Those officials explain that they hire an outside company to provide security and then gave Oliver the company’s phone number.
Oliver and Safeway respond
In response to Oliver’s video at the Rainier Beach grocery store, Safeway issued the following statement:
Discrimination is contrary to who we are as a company and how we serve our customers and communities. We take the allegations seriously and are conducting a thorough investigation. The security individual featured in the video is employed by a third party security service, and he is no longer assigned to a Safeway store.
Oliver did not respond to requests for comment from KIRO Radio, or any other media, following the video inside the Safeway store. Instead, she posted a second video in response. Oliver explains that from her recent experiences with media, “stories get spun and get used for click bait, and get used to make us look like we are in the wrong.”
“People are always questioning whether or not people of color are truly being followed through stores; whether or not the stories we are telling about microaggressions and how white supremacy impacts us in our daily lives are true,” she said. “And I wanted to make sure people could see that. I also wanted to actively challenge that because we live in a society; right now are seeing white supremacy and the problems with it and the problems with patriarchy.”
Oliver said she has called the security company and Safeway’s corporate office. She did not have any contact with either company at the time of the recording.
“This stuff really happens to our young people, day in and day out,” Oliver said in her video response. “Stores don’t want to take responsibility for it. Security doesn’t want to take responsibility for it. But it’s racist, it’s white supremacist, and it’s wrong.”