Police responding to a call about an “active shooter” Monday at an Illinois Target store arrived on scene to find an unarmed man protesting the retail chain’s new transgender bathroom policy.
Witnesses inside the Bradley, Illinois store told The Daily Journal that the man shouted out several warnings, including “America is going to hell,” and voiced his distaste for the bathroom policy. That’s when an employee called the police and described the disturbance as “an active shooter situation,” prompting what the Journal report described as a “dramatic, full court press by dozens of police officers.”
Michael Lloyd Merichko, 39, was charged with disorderly conduct and was released Monday on a $75 bond, according to The Washington Post.
“Merichko’s actions provoked a breach of the peace causing panic among store employees and customers,” a news release from the Bradley Police Department read. “Investigators have determined that Merichko made no threats of shooting anyone in the store.”
Merichko apparently was a vocal opponent of the retail chain’s new policy before this incident.
In a 14-minute video uploaded to his Facebook page, Merichko described a previous encounter in which he asked a Target employee about the policy, saying that he was concerned about “some wicked pervert in the same bathroom as my wife or my daughter who ‘self-identifies’ at that time as a woman.” He said the police were called in that incident as well because employees said he was harassing customers.
Watch the video below: