SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Walmart says it will stop putting haircare products for multicultural customers in locked cases.

The company says the practice was only in place at a dozen of its stores nationwide, including several Walmart locations in the Sacramento area.

CBS Denver reporter Tori Mason contacted Walmart about the issue after a viewer told her about it, saying: “This Walmart is in the heart of Montbello (Denver). There are black and brown people all over the place. The message is clear: We don’t trust you.”

Walmart responded, in part:

“As a retailer serving millions of customers every day from diverse backgrounds, Walmart does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Like other retailers, the cases were put in place to deter shoplifters from some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products.

“We’re sensitive to the issue and understand the concerns raised by our customers and members of the community and have made the decision to discontinue placing multicultural hair care and beauty products – a practice in place in about a dozen of our 4,700 stores nationwide – in locked cases.”

That’s a much different statement from what Walmart was saying just over a year ago. In February 2019, after receiving word the products were being locked up, a CBS13 employee went to some of the stores and walked down the aisles. They shot cell phone video of all the hair care products out in the open, but when it came to specialized products, some with black models on the labels, they found they were locked behind glass.

The Sacramento Chapter of the ACLU called the practice blatant discrimination that’s degrading, demoralizing, and illegal.

The Unruh Civil Rights Act / Cal. Civ. Code § 51(b)

“It’s utterly ridiculous and they should be ashamed of themselves,” said Abre’ Conner, ACLU Staff Attorney.

We reached out to Walmart Corporate, which sent this statement;

“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind at Walmart. We serve more than 140 million customers weekly, crossing all demographics, and are focused on meeting their needs while providing the best shopping experience at each store. Like other retailers, Walmart uses enhanced security on some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics, and other personal care products. Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for the heightened measures. Our goal is to ensure that we offer a wide variety of products to our diverse array of customers at the low prices they have come to expect.”

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