Corrections officer David Conners has sued a Walmart in Georgia for racially profiling him as a shoplifter, according to NBC News. While shopping around, The store’s chief loss prevention officer falsely identified Conners as a suspect who had continuously stolen from the store. Conners said he was arrested for just being ‘big and Black.’
Conners’ lawyer, Terance Madden, told NBC officials had a photo and name to the suspect in question as well as an active warrant. Madden also said one of the officers told Conners he was ‘about the same build’ as the suspect which was apparently enough evidence for them to find him guilty.
From NBC News:
Conners was on the phone when police approached him and asked his name, according to his lawyer.
He said his name and identified himself as law enforcement, producing his driver’s license and his work ID.
The loss prevention officer contacted the Fayetteville Police Department, who arrived at the store, “surrounded him, embarrassed him and escorted him, in full view of other shoppers, into the store’s Loss Prevention Office,” the lawsuit says.
He was then put in handcuffs with his hands behind his back, according to the lawsuit.
Conners repeatedly denied the allegations after being shown a picture of the suspect (who was wearing a mask) as well as pointing out identifying factors he did not share with the real shoplifter including tattoos. Madden said Conners told the staff to check his identification and insisted the suspect was not him, reported NBC.
Conners was un-cuffed after the lead investigator confirmed in a lineup (which was literally a FaceTime call) that he was not the suspect, according to NBC. Madden told NBC this was an obvious case of racial profiling and could happen to anyone.
NBC reported the lawsuit states Conners sustained physical injury from being handcuffed and sought professional counseling to deal with the mental trauma from the incident. Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove told NBC the company does not tolerate discrimination and will take this allegation seriously.