Jenny Mendez was taking advantage of Black Friday sales last year like every other American, when she was arrested for shoplifting after a Macy’s security officer lied and said she confessed to the crime, the Huffington Post reports.
Mendez, 29, claims that Macy’s employees racially profiled her, leading to the accusations of theft that ultimately cost her her job in the police department. She is suing the department store for $40 million.
The Bronx, N.Y., resident was acquitted of the shoplifting charges in September, after a store detective revealed that supervisors instructed her to falsify the paperwork. According to the detective’s testimony, she checked "yes" in a part of the report that asked if Mendez admitted to the crime. It was "something [her] boss told [employees]" to do, she said on the stand, according to the Huffington Post.
"It was one wrong on top of another that happened to Jenny Mendez," Mendez’s lawyer Philip Karasyk told DNAinfo New York. "First she was wrongly accused and then she lost the job she loved, and that wrong should be made right."
The day after Thanksgiving last year, Mendez went shopping with her mother, and they walked around the store filling up shopping bags with items they wanted. When paying for the items at the cashier, Mendez realized that one of the bags were missing and reported it to security, as instructed by a sales clerk, Huffington Post reports.
When Mendez and her mother went to report the missing bag to security, they had bags of paid and unpaid clothing (as they had stopped mid check-out). They were detained, Mendez was accused of stealing and the police were called.
Her lawsuit argues that she never tried to hide the unpaid items and since she had gone to the security office, which was on a floor with no exit, she could not have possibly stolen 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 said.
Read more at the Huffington Post.