LEESBURG, Va. —Target officials are under fire again — this time for firing a security guard after he reported a man believed to be a sheriff's deputy for shoplifting.
Dallas Northington, 29, worked as a security officer for a Target store in Leesburg for nearly eight years before he was abruptly fired after reporting shoplifting by a man who may have been a Fairfax County sheriff’s deputy.
Northington filed a routine report with Leesburg police May 27 after the man was allegedly captured twice on video while shoplifting, The Washington Post reports. Days after the report was filed, the suspect retired from the Fairfax County sheriff’s office and Northington was fired.
Target officials allegedly told Northington he violated procedure by failing to fill out proper paperwork before contacting the police, though Northington said he had followed the same procedure for years.
Leesburg police issued a statement Monday saying the decision to fire Northington was “strictly a corporate decision made by Target with no discussion or knowledge by our agency.”
Target faced widespread criticism on social media following the report. Among the many posts on Twitter:
- Top Five Records @ebmorton: @Target very sad you have to fire Dallas Northington because a police officer arrested. Way to fire man with a family for doing his job.
- Sting @maijinsting: I hope this Dallas Northington story gets major coverage, because @Target deserves all the backlash and criticism that would come their way.
- Jon C. Ham @rivlax: @Target I will never shop at Target again after reading of the monumental injustice to Dallas Northington in your Leesville, VA, store. -
Though Northington said store supervisors recognized the suspect through two color videos "in which his face was clearly visible," the suspect has not been charged with a crime and Leesburg investigators said they were still trying to confirm the suspect’s identity, according to the Post.
Monday morning, Leesburg police said the individual involved in the theft was identified as a Fairfax Sheriff’s Office deputy as early as Friday, May 30.
Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, said in an email the company conducted an extensive investigation and did not believe there is any merit to Northington’s claims. However, Target indicated to police that the company intends to move forward with criminal charges associated with the theft.