Walmart is getting ready to come off some serious cash after an Oregon grand jury sided with a Black man who said he was racially profiled and harassed in a Portland-area store back in March of 2020. Michael Mangum sued the retail giant, and now Walmart has been ordered to pay him $4.4 million.
Mangum says he went to the Walmart store looking for a light bulb for his refrigerator. But while he shopped, he noticed a store employee following him. The employee approached Mangum and asked him to leave the store. But when Mangum refused, the employee said he would call the police and tell them Mangum threatened to “smash him in the face.”
According to Mangum’s lawsuit, the Walmart employee told a non-emergency dispatch operator that although Mangum didn’t appear to be impaired and wasn’t acting violently, “he just keeps checking me out.” But the employee’s story changed when he added that he asked Mangum to leave the store because, “he started flipping out on me.” Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputies decided not to take action against Mangum, citing the employees weird changing story. They added that the same employee had a “reputation for making false reports to police.”
Mangum’s legal team is proud of their client for standing up to Walmart and setting an example for others. “He lives the same message of self-respect that he teaches to young people, ‘stand up for yourself when you know you’re right,’” said Mangum’s lawyer, Greg Kafoury. “Because of his courage, we were able to show the jury an unconscionable failure of responsibility by the world’s largest corporation.”
But Walmart thinks the decision goes too far. “We do not tolerate discrimination. We believe the verdict is excessive and is not supported by the evidence,” said company spokesperson Randy Hargrove. “We are reviewing our options, including post-trial motions.”