National Coalition for the Homeless Action Alert
Date: May 3, 2021
WHO: Todd Jones, CEO of Publix Supermarket Company
WHAT: Condemn the actions of Law Enforcement for beating a homeless man in your Miami Store
The National Coalition for the Homeless is calling on Todd Jones, CEO of Publix, to terminate the employment of Miami police officer and Publix security guard, Alexander Garcia Contreras, who was caught on video at your Miami Publix supermarket beating a homeless man, Willie Barber for the alleged crime of stealing a sandwich. We want the police officer fired from both Publix and from his day job in law enforcement and brought up on assault charges. No one is above the law and no one should act as judge, jury and executioner especially in a matter of a $5 chicken sandwich.
Publix officials have to be aware that because of the pandemic, there are lines of traffic waiting to get food in almost every city in America. So many have lost their jobs and much of their income that food insecurity is a huge issue right now. We can all agree that stealing is wrong, but it does not justify the disgusting display of violence released on that bystander video in the Miami Publix. We are aware from local activists that Publix is often the first group willing to give during a natural disaster and are the backbone in many communities of the anti-hunger programs, which makes it all the more surprising that they have yet to publicly condemn the actions of the officer and to end his employment after 16 days.
We are concerned that in the time of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Duante Wright that there was not better training around use of force in shoplifting cases. We are concerned with the Publix hiring and monitoring of its security personnel considering the seven use of force incidents by Officer Contreras over the last five years. We believe that corporations in South Florida might need to reconsider employing Miami Police Department in security positions if their officers are so quick to escalate a situation into a violent confrontation.
NCH is asking the Publix CEO to condemn these actions, fire this officer and tell the public what actions they are taking to assure that this will not happen again.
Will they offer training to their security personnel? Will they look into the history of the use of force by the police officers in their employment? Will they work to weed out racism from their security staff?
We are asking all of our members to call the Communications Department of Publix with this simple message to deliver to Todd Jones CEO:
- Fire the law enforcement officer in that Miami Publix who beat Mr. Barber.
- Compensate Mr. Barber for his pain and suffering inflicted by this Publix security employee.
- Implement an updated training message to all Publix employees that you will not tolerate a violent response to shoplifting, because it endangers the lives of customers and employees alike.
- During the orientation process as well as on-going training modules that Publix will work to eliminate inherent bias and racist tendencies by all employees.
Post on social media @Publix, or send a message to Maria Brous, Director of Communications for Publix, at 863-688-1188 x55339 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and ask her to forward the message to Todd Jones.