On Wednesday, charges were dropped against a Pakistani woman who was accused of stealing jewelry at the Macy’s flagship store in New York City. The incident happened last fall.
Joweria Khalid was charged with misdemeanor theft after a security guard at Macy’s reported that she stole $193 worth of jewelry. After the incident, Khalid was detained for a couple of hours and was asked to pay a $500 fine. Khalid was stunned by what happened and said that “it was a constant stress for six months.”
According to Khalid’s lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, Khalid was just looking for another cashier and not planning to leave the store without paying.
The guard’s statement said that he watched Khalid as she entered the department store. He reprimanded her while she was on an escalator going up a floor, as he saw that she still had items that were not yet paid for. What the security guard didn't notice was that Khalid had already paid for the $33 bracelet that she was carrying. However, she had not paid for the other items she was holding, as she was looking for another cashier.
The charges were dropped, as the prosecutors were not able to prove the case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Based on other accounts, this is not the first time a similar scenario happened. There have been complaints about security guards targeting minorities.
In a statement by Macy’s, they said that they “have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”
Wigdor said that police did not sufficiently question the security guards. In recent months, a Hispanic police officer and an Argentinian woman were also accused while they were shopping. The two have since been acquitted.
According to news reports, Macy’s has already been sued by eight customers, due to profiling.
Last December, the department store, along with other retailers, created a bill of rights that prohibits unreasonable searches and profiling of customers.
Customers who claim they were profiled at Macy's
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