UNION, NJ – A social media posting about Union police officers tackling a woman to the ground at the Target in Vauxhall caught the attention of many residents in Union and Maplewood on Tuesday. However, police tell a different story.
The Facebook posting said in part “a woman of color with two small children was tackled to the ground at the front entrance by two white male cops for supposedly running out the front door with milk she had not paid for. I heard her screams and the screaming from her child yelling 'get off my mommy.'" The post said the woman was running out of the store to catch her young child.
According to a press report about the incident from Union Police, at just after 7 p.m. on Tuesday, a Target employee alerted the Union uniformed officer working off-duty security that they were observing a shoplifter who was preparing to leave the store. The officer alerted another off-duty police officer who was working in the same complex and the two officers stopped the shoplifter as she exited the store.
The officers determined the woman had merchandise in her shopping cart that she had not purchased. The police report stated that Iman Barnes, age 29 of Orange, left the store with $855 worth of unpaid merchandise.
At that time, the officers attempted to place handcuffs on her and arrest her for shoplifting.
According to police, Barnes did not cooperate and resisted the officer’s attempts to handcuff her. The officers contacted police headquarters for help and patrol officers responded and observed the officers trying to arrest the woman, who according to the police report was trying to kick the officers. The officers handcuffed Barnes, who was transported to police headquarters. There was no mention of a child in the press release from police.
Barnes was charged with shoplifting and resisting arrest. Barnes later was found to have a warrant from the Secaucus Police Department and she was taken into custody by Secaucus officers.