An expectant mother is considering legal action after she questioned by a cop during an incident at a Staples in North Carolina. The pregnant woman, who is Black, actually had to put her growing stomach on display to prove to a police officer that she wasn’t shoplifting.
Sherrell Bates, who is carrying twins, felt humiliated while shopping for back-to-school supplies in Pineville, North Carolina on Friday (Aug. 10).
“Being pregnant is already high-risk, and having to deal with that, just additional stress that I don’t need,” Bates said to ABC affiliate WSOC.
What would make a police officer think that Bates, who was visually pregnant, was stealing? The problem started when the expecting mother went to pay for her items. “Mid-transaction, a police officer approached me and insisted he wanted to speak with me,” Bates said. “He asked what was under my shirt.”
A Staples manager had asked the officer to speak with Bates because the person believed that she was “concealing merchandise.” Really?
“Initially, I thought he was joking, so my response was, ‘Twins,’” Bates also said. “I’m 34 weeks with twins. I’m having a boy and a girl.”
The officer didn’t believe Bates, asking her again what was under her shirt. “At that point, to avoid him asking me again, I actually lifted my shirt just a little bit, just to expose my belly, so he could see that I’m just a regular pregnant person buying school supplies,” Bates said.
Bates, who planned on calling Staples’ corporate office to discuss the disgraceful incident, is rightfully upset. She was made to feel as if her safety and privacy didn’t matter during the incident.
“You pretty much jumped the gun without any type of evidence, except my stomach is large,” Bates said. “That’s not fair. No mom should have to go through that.”