After being handcuffed and unjustly accused of shoplifting, a Black law enforcement officer claims he was racially profiled in a Georgia Walmart store, and he’s now suing.
A Clayton County corrections officer named David Conners said he was out shopping for home decor when a Fayetteville Police Department officer stopped him in his tracks, claiming that employees suspected him of being a man with the last name “Wright” who had stolen electronics from the store on several occasions.
In an interview, Terance Madden, an attorney for Conners, said, “He’s just in the store, minding his own business, when he’s approached by the cops, and things went south from there.”
Officers handcuffed him while investigating charges by Walmart employees that he was a chronic shoplifter, according to the lawsuit. A warrant has previously been issued for that person, according to Madden.
Conners provided two pieces of identification to the arresting officers, one of which proved he was a local correction officer, but he was nevertheless transferred to another room and held while officers investigated, according to the lawsuit.
Officers presented Conners surveillance footage of a shoplifter who employees mistook for him. Conners noted that he has tattoos that are visible, although the alleged shoplifter does not. According to the lawsuit, Conners was not released until officers called someone acquainted with the case who determined he wasn’t the shoplifter.
Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove stated in a statement: “We don’t allow any form of discrimination and take complaints like these very seriously. We won’t say anything else about the ongoing legal battle.”
Conners claimed he’s since sought professional treatment to help him cope with the mental and psychological damage he claims this experience has caused him. He claims that neither Walmart nor the employee who contacted the cops has shown regret for the incident.
As a law enforcement officer, Conners said the experience has given him a fresh perspective on the prevalence and impact of racial profiling.
“You see it all the time,” Madden continued, “but you never believe it’ll happen to you until it does.” “When it occurs to you, it becomes personal, and a violation is something you can’t help but think about over and over again.”