A Hispanic NYPD officer shopping at Macy’s Herald Square after Thanksgiving last year claims she was wrongly arrested for shoplifting after store security lied that she confessed, according to DNAinfo New York.
Jenny Mendez filed a lawsuit against Macy’s in The Bronx Supreme Court last week. She is seeking $40 million in damages, arguing that her arrest got her terminated from the NYPD after spending less than a year on the job.
During the two-day bench trial, a store detective admitted that her supervisors told her to lie about Mendez’s stealing. The detective, identified in the suit as “Trouche,” testified that she checked a “yes” box in her report where it asked if Mendez was shoplifting.
Trouche admitted she falsified the report because it was “something our boss told us” to do, court records show.
“Your boss is telling you to lie on this report?” Philip Karasyk, Mendez’s lawyer, asked Trouche while on the stand.
“I guess so, yes,” she admitted.
The judge in the case reprimanded the supposed policy: “Tell your boss that’s a bad practice.”
“It was one wrong on top of another that happened to Jenny Mendez,” Karasyk said. “First, she was wrongly accused and then she lost the job she loved, and that wrong should be made right.”
Mendez’s troubles began during a Black Friday 2012 shopping visit to Macy’s flagship store. When she arrived with her mother, she says she gathered empty shopping bags from a clerk. Moving from floor to floor, the two then parted to do their own shopping.
She claims she visited the store’s dressing rooms three times, keeping clothes she wanted in a bag that she brought to the cash register where her mother was waiting with two bags of already purchased clothes. Mendez placed the two bags and her bag of unpaid clothes on the floor to make room on the counter.
As the clerk was ringing up more of her mother’s clothes, Mendez noticed that one of their bags was missing. The clerk told the two they could report the missing bag to security at an office on another floor. Security then called Mendez on her cell phone, informing her that they’d found the missing bag on a shoplifter and police had been called.
However, when she and her mother arrived, guards detained them both, accused Mendez of stealing and had officers arrest them.
“It is apparent that the sole reason for stopping [Jenny] was due to her Hispanic heritage and that the subsequent arrest, detainment and prosecution was racially motivated,” the lawsuit noted.
Mendez’s arrest comes along a string of recent racial profiling allegations against large NYC department stores, resulting in additional lawsuits against Macy’s Herald Square.