A string of lawsuits filed against major retailers in the Portland, Oregon area put an exclamation point on the anger African-Americans feel toward the routine racial profiling and disrespect they experience.
The attorney for African-American clients who alleged that they were victims of shopping while Black filed four separate lawsuits between Jun 1 and June 21 against several companies, including Walmart, Sunglass Hut and Nike, the OregoneLive.com reported on Friday. Each lawsuit details how employees at the big chains racially profiled them as thieves, falsely jumping to the conclusion that they had stolen merchandise from the stores.
“We in Portland want to believe that unlike other big cities we are a colorblind community. The truth is that our minority citizens face routine and widespread discrimination for shopping while Black,” Jason Kafoury, the attorney for the Black shoppers, told the newspaper.
These lawsuits came against the backdrop of outrage over high-profile cases of white people calling the police on African-Americas because they seem suspicious. Videos of these incidents, such as the Philadelphia Starbucks case, have brought national awareness to something that has been routine.
In one of the Portland cases, a Walmart employee accused Jamaal Winchester, a 38-year-old postal worker, of stealing a fishing pole he had just bought. “Are you going to steal that?” she allegedly asked him before demanding to see a receipt.
She was so disrespectful that he declined to show her the receipt, but he agreed to show it to the police if they arrived. As the exchange escalated, a video shows her calling him a “piece of sh__,” and he called her a racist.
Winchester is asking for $55,000 for emotional suffering and attorney fees.