How Oberlin’s slander put our family through hell

Lorna Gibson:

On the night of Nov., 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected president and the country was forever changed. But for my family, it was the following night — Nov. 9, 2016 — that our world was turned upside down and has never been set right.

Late that night, my husband, David, came home from work and told me that there had been a shoplifting incident at our bakery, Gibson’s. We’ve been in business for 137 years, so we’ve had our fair share of shoplifters, including earlier that very week. That particular night, a student from the local college, Oberlin, had tried to steal two bottles of wine and use a fake ID to buy a third. Our son, Allyn, had pursued him across the street. Two more students got involved. Allyn was beaten up pretty badly, and the three students were arrested.

David was afraid the incident would blow up, since the students claimed to the police that my son had assaulted them — not the other way around. He told me he was scared it would hurt our business since the students who were arrested were black and bystanders were already claiming that Allyn had racially profiled them.

But none of us had any idea of what was about to happen.