Essie Grundy (CBS screenshot)

Black people continue to be criminalized for just being in the U.S. of A.

A California woman says she is suing Walmart for discrimination after saying that the mega retailer locked its African-American hair and skin products behind glass at a California store. Moreover, the woman said, she was walked to a register by an employee to pay for her products once she chose them.

Famed attorney Gloria Allred held a news conference Friday, saying she was representing Essie Grundy of Perris, Calif.

“It was something I had to stand up for,” said Grundy, according to NBC 4 Los Angeles. “I would like the glass to go down, and for things to go back to the way it was, where it’s not segregated and everything is where everyone can get what they need.”

Grundy said she went into a Walmart on Jan. 12 to buy beauty products and saw that the black beauty items were locked behind glass.

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Adding insult to injury, said the mother of five, she was not allowed to touch the product until an employee came, got the product out and then accompanied her to a register to pay.

Grundy said she complained to the employee, who agreed with her, and said she also complained about the policy. Said employee allegedly told her that the move was a directive from corporate.

Allred said that the woman returned to the Walmart a second time and noticed a security camera overhead. NBC 4 reports:

The woman said she was buying a comb that cost 48 cents, and was wondering why that item was locked up while other non-African-American products that were more expensive were not kept behind a glass.

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Walmart released a response but might want to tread lightly because on the face of it, it looks like this woman may have a legitimate claim of discrimination.

As Allred said, “If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck ... ”

“We serve more than 140 million customers weekly, crossing all demographics, and are focused on meeting their needs while providing the best shopping experience at each store,” a Walmart spokesperson said.

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“We’re sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security,” the spokesperson continued. “Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for the heightened measures. While we’ve yet to review a complaint, we take this situation seriously and look forward to addressing it with the court.”

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