Former NYPD officer Jenny Mendez just wanted to get a good deal on some nice clothes last Black Friday. Instead, she got arrested, lost her job, and is now filing a lawsuit alleging that the shoplifting accusations against her were caused by racial profiling.
On the day after Thanksgiving last year, Mendez says she and her mother went to the Macy's New York flagship store to get as many good deals as they could and generally celebrate the consumerist spirit of the holiday. Mendez had put clothes she intended to purchase into a shopping bag, which she placed on the floor with two bags of already-purchased clothes as her mother checked out. But when one of the bags disappeared, she claims, store security was called.
As it happened, the missing bag had been nabbed by, you guessed it, a shoplifter. Security was promptly notified and found the culprit and the bag, calling Mendez to come to the security office. But, Mendez alleges, when she showed up with the other bags (one of which was full of things she hadn't yet paid for) she herself was detained for shoplifting.
Mendez was acquitted of the charges in September, after a store detective admitted in court that her supervisors had told her to falsely report Mendez's confession. But the arrest had already done its damage: she says she was booted from her job with the NYPD, where she'd worked for less than a year. Now she's suing for $40 million in damages, alleging that the wrongful arrest was due to racial profiling based on her Hispanic heritage.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of an incident at another New York City department store where a black teen was arrested for allegedly stealing a belt—which he had paid for just moments earlier.
[image via AP]