Black men asking for cheese cause CVS clerks to hide in fear

Rick Berry and Snapchat image of officer trying to open locked door (Photo Credit: Screen shot WATE-TV)
Rick Berry and Snapchat image of officer trying to open locked door (Photo credit: Screenshot WATE-TV)

A simple request for sliced cheese lead to a police encounter for two Black men at a Carrytown, Virginia, CVS store. According to  Ricky Berry, he and his roommate Philip Blackwell needed some sliced cheese and entered a local CVS. When they asked the clerk if the store carried cheese, he was told that it did not. Then the clerk walked away and the two men found themselves alone in the store with the exception of a man with a bad toothache.

“We looked around for probably 30, 45 minutes and we couldn’t find anybody,” Blackwell said to the media, adding that they discovered another customer, “attempting to purchase Orajel for a bad tooth, who also couldn’t find anyone to help him.”

Soon a police officer arrived at the scene and when told the story, he started to laugh.

“He was laughing with us because, like, this is how weird, apocalyptic movies start,” Berry said.

The responding officer began searching the store also and found the employees cowering in fear behind a locked door. The officer talked to the scared staff and then made several calls to the dispatcher, he then told Berry and his roommate to leave the store. “We’re being kicked out because they were scared of us and hiding. He just told us that we need to leave premises or else we would be arrested for trespassing and that flipped the script on all of us. We had no idea what was going on,” Berry said.

The men received a telephone call from the CVS corporate office with an apology for their treatment. The company also stated that the employee who called the police is being counseled and retrained. The store reportedly had a negative encounter with a Black customer earlier in the day but that is unconfirmed.

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.

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