The college lost the court case to Gibson’s Bakery on Friday, according to the Chronicle-Telegram. Gibson’s bakery sued the college and Raimondo in 2017 after a 2016 shoplifting incident at the bakery devolved into protests and racial allegations. A student tried to buy alcohol with a fake ID and shoplift from owner’s son, Allyn D. Gibson. Gibson followed the student out of the store, and the two got into a physical altercation. Two other black students also got involved in the fight later.
The three students were arrested after punching and kicking the White shopkeeper. The 18 and 19 year old students said that they were racially profiled and that their only crime was trying to buy alcohol with fake identification. Allyn Gibson, on his part, said the students attacked him after he caught them trying to steal bottles of wine.
After arrests, hundreds of students protested outside the bakery, and Oberlin’s student senate published a resolution saying Gibson’s had a “history of racial profiling and discriminatory treatment.”
The arrested Gibson’s pleaded guilty in August to attempted theft and aggravated trespassing and said in statements required by a plea agreement that their action were wrong and that store wasn’t racist. The Oberlin police conducted an investigation into the arrests and found “a complete lack of evidence of racism.” Over a five-year period, the bakery had pursued charges against 40 shoplifters, and only six were Afro-Americans.
“All the Gibsons ever wanted was for the truth to come out. The verdict sends a clear message to other educational institutions,” said one of the bakery’s attorneys.