Manager Called 911 After Falsely Accusing Black Man of Sneaking into Movie Theater

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Phoenix, AZ — Larry Shelton, a 40-year old Black man from Arizona, says he was racially profiled after employees at a local movie theater accused him of entering without a ticket and reported him to police. A video of what really happened went viral after he uploaded it on Facebook.

Larry Shelton

Shelton, a mortgage banker in Ahwatukee, Arizona, said he was in the middle of watching Captain Marvel at AMC Theatres when he left to use the restroom and refill his drink. When he returned, an employee approached him and accused him of sneaking into the theater and not paying.

“I’m walking back to my seat with my cup when a manager runs up and said I entered the building through an exit door,” Shelton told Yahoo Lifestyle. “He was very nasty with me and told me to leave.”

But Shelton refused to leave and instead he returned to his seat and put back on his 3-D glasses to continue watching the film. After a while, a security guard approached him. He started to record a video with his cellphone flashlight on inside the dark theater when the guard confronted him. The guard can be heard telling him to leave and that he is “creating a disturbance.”

In a second video, two police officers arrived and escorted him out to the theater lobby. The manager still claimed he didn’t have a ticket. But Shelton showed his ticket as proof that he paid for his ticket. The manager got angry and told him he should have shown it earlier. The police officers, on the other hand, didn’t meddle anymore and explained it was a civil matter, not criminal.

Before leaving, Shelton asked for a refund but the manager refused. “You’re not getting a refund. You violated our code of conduct by turning a flashlight on in the theater,” he could be heard saying.

Meanwhile, AMC has issued a statement of apology to Shelton. It said, in part, “AMC deeply regrets that this avoidable situation occurred. Based on our initial investigation, including interviews with the theatre staff and our outreach to the guest, this situation could have been handled differently to minimize frustration, and we’ve offered our sincere apologies to Mr. Shelton.”

“I felt very ashamed,” Shelton said. He admitted that the confrontation wouldn’t have taken that long if he showed the ticket earlier, but he felt defensive because the manager immediately accused him without asking.

Moreover, Shelton declined AMC’s offer to give him free movie passes and popcorn and drink vouchers. He is also planning to file a lawsuit.

Black Lives Matter Arizona held a protest near the AMC in Ahwtukee on March 12 for the “racial profiling, harassment, and mistreatment” of Shelton. Katt McKinney, a BLM activist, is also calling for a boycott of all AMCs nationwide until “they address this” issue.

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