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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Target Obstructs Justice and Fires an Employee: Investigate and Boycott!

Dallas Northington's story of being fired from Target for doing his job has gone viral and outraged a lot of people.

Northington is the Target plainclothes security officer who reported a Fairfax Sheriff's deputy caught shoplifting.  Here's the original Washington Post story and Tom Jackman's excellent follow up of five questions for Target about the firing.   

Briefly, Northington caught a deputy sheriff shoplifting in a Leesburg Target and reported it to the Leesburg police.  The pilfering deputy was caught on videotape.  Several Target employees recognized the deputy, and management  not only declined to press charges but fired Northington instead.  The official cause was that he had failed to follow proper procedure before going to the police. 

Northington, however, responded that in his eight years of employment at the Target, he had handled previous cases in exactly the same manner.  In fact, one of Jackman's questions for Target is, "what is the proper procedure?."  Yes, enquiring minds want to know.

Here's the thing.  The slow response of the police department and the manager at the small town Target smack of cronyism.  These people were simply protecting one of their own, which is bad enough and merits an investigation of both the Leesburg Police Department and the Target.  The Leesburg Police Department claims that they were waiting for Target to press charges first.  But shoplifting is a crime and they are public servants whose salary and overhead are funded by taxpayers.  That's who they answer to and when laws are broken their job is to pursue those who commit the crimes.

Finally, after responding to a story gone viral and mounting outrage, Target has filed the charges, which were pending since May.  The Target finally filed the charges this past Monday.  But it took public pressure to embarrass them into it.  Score one for social media.

Unfortunately, though, Northington is still out of a job, the one true innocent victim of this corrupt system.

By the way, it should be noted that there was nothing the Fairfax Sheriff's Office could do about this.  Although they were the deputy's employer, this was Leesburg's jurisdiction.  They were no more culpable for a bad player acting outside of work hours than a private company would be.

Target is completely culpable as is the Leesburg police.  Sure Target is a private company, not funded by the taxpayers.  And Virginia is an at will state, which means an employer does not have to give a reason for firing an employee.  But firing a security officer for turning in a lawbreaker is technically obstructing justice. 

Since Northington was acting in his official capacity and responding to a crime, he is now technically a whistleblower who was wrongfully dismissed by a company obstructing justice and preventing a criminal investigation.  Just so we are clear here: Target is crooked as they come and should be investigated for wrongful firing, obstructing justice, and violating whistleblower protections.

Absent that, anybody up for a boycott?

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