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Downstate man charged after Target disturbance over restroom policies
by Matt Simonette
2016-05-03

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A Bourbonnais, Illinois, Target Store and its neighboring businesses were placed on lockdown for two hours, on May 2, after a man created a disturbance over the retail chains' restroom policies for its transgender customers, NBC 5 reported.

Initial reports said that an "active shooter" situation had broken out at the store, located about 52 miles southwest of Chicago, but those proved to be unfounded.

Michael Merichko was charged with disorderly conduct after creating a disturbance inside the store, according to Bradley police. According to allegations, he was complaining about Target's policy, which it announced last week, welcoming customers to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify.

Police could not yet determine why the incident was reported as an active shooter situation; no shots were reported, nor was a gun found at the scene. Police confirmed that Merichko made no gun threats. But his behavior was enough to disturb the store's customers and staff.

Merichko posted a video on Facebook the week of April 25 where he discussed his objections to the policy, stating that he worried for his wife and daughter's safety, since a "wicked pervert" could supposedly use the restroom alongside them.

"Repent, repent, repent," Merichko said in the video. "It's pretty much gotten to the point if you believe in manhood, you're an offence. You're better off dead to them."

Target is one of many corporate entities that have taken public stands against "bathroom rights bills," ostensibly aimed at transgender individuals, that have proliferated in several states.

"Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity," the company said in an April 19 statement.

NBC 5's story is bit.ly/1WE5nT0 .


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