Moment black man in Walmart is ‘profiled and harassed’

Moment black man shopping for a refrigerator lightbulb in Walmart is ‘profiled and harassed’ by employee who called the cops when he refused to leave as store is ordered to pay him a record £4.4M in damages

  • According to the lawsuit the employee ‘spied’ on Dovey Mangum while shopping
  • The told Mangum to leave the store and called the police when he refused
  • Police responded and ‘refused to take action against Mangum’ when they arrived
  • Walmart later fired the employee for ‘mishandling £35 of Walmart property’ 

By Rachael Bunyan[1] and Tom Brown For Mailonline[2]

Published: 19:43, 23 August 2022 | Updated: 19:45, 23 August 2022

This is the moment a black man who was shopping for a refrigerator lightbulb in Walmart[3] was profiled and harassed by an employee who called the cops when the shopper refused to leave the store.

Video shows Michael Mangum confronting Walmart employee Joe Williams, a theft prevention worker, after he caught him ‘spying’ on him.

Williams had ordered Mangum to leave the store and called police when he refused, according to a lawsuit.

Walmart has now been ordered to pay £4.4 million in damages to Mangum – £400,000 in non-economic damages and £4 million in punitive damages – by a Multnomah County jury.

Mangum’s lawyers said it was the largest discrimination case in Oregon history.

Mangum, who was 59 at the time, visited the Walmart in Wood Village on March 26, 2020, to buy a light bulb for his refrigerator.

Moment black man in Walmart is 'profiled and harassed'

Video shows Michael Mangum confronting Walmart employee Joe Williams (left and right), a theft prevention worker, after he caught him ‘spying’ on him

Moment black man in Walmart is 'profiled and harassed'

Michael Mangum, left, with his attorney Greg Kafoury. Mangum sued Walmart after he said he was racially profiled and harassed by an employee at the Walmart in Wood Village

The litigation is a landmark test of a recently passed state law allowing lawsuits against anyone who improperly calls law enforcement with the intent to discriminate, his lawyers said.

After Mangum arrived at the store, he noticed store employee Williams watching him as he shopped.

Williams told Mangum to leave the store, but Mangum refused, saying he’d done nothing wrong.

Mangum’s lawyers said Williams told Mangum he was going to call the police and tell them Mangum had threatened to ‘smash him in the face.’

Williams called the non-emergency police dispatch line and told the operator he ‘had a person refusing to leave,’ the lawsuit states.

Video, recorded by Mangum, shows him confronting the Walmart employee after he caught him spying on him.

‘What did I say?’ asks Mangum. ‘What did I say to threaten you? I didn’t say anything to threaten you. What did I say?’

Williams, who was wearing a black hoodie and black ripped jeans, replied: ‘That if I kept watching you then you would slap the shit out of me’.

Magnum replied: ‘No I didn’t say that.

And I’m going to find this other couple here and ask them if I said that.’

Deputies from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office responded after Williams called the non-emergency police dispatch line and ‘refused to take action against Mangum’, the victim’s lawyers said.

The lawyers said deputies made that decision based on Williams’ ‘shifting explanations’ for the reason he called and because of his ‘reputation for making false reports to police.’

Moment black man in Walmart is 'profiled and harassed'

The Walmart store is pictured.

On Friday, August 19, 2022, a Multnomah County jury awarded £400,000 in non-economic damages and £4 million in punitive damages against Walmart 

According to Mangum’s lawyers, the next day, Sheriff’s Sergeant Bryan White and another deputy met with the director of the Walmart and the assistant manager and explained that deputies had noticed a ‘pattern of behavior’ in which Williams would call police to report ‘dangerous active situations, such as customers physically assaulting him or other employees,’ that were not happening.

The store and Walmart corporate officials kept him on the job for several more months and fired him in July 2020 for ‘mishandling £35 of Walmart property,’ the lawsuit said.

Williams in a deposition denied the allegations that he wrongly called the police, saying Mangum had threatened to hit him.

Mangum filed the lawsuit against Walmart for negligent retention and action against person who summons police with improper intent.

‘He lives the same message of self-respect that he teaches to young people, ‘stand up for yourself when you know you’re right,” Mangum’s trial lawyer, Greg Kafoury, said in a statement.

‘Because of his courage, we were able to show the jury an unconscionable failure of responsibility by the world’s largest corporation.’

Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove called into question some of the claims and said Walmart considers the verdict ‘excessive’.

‘We do not tolerate discrimination.

We believe the verdict is excessive and is not supported by the evidence,’ Hargrove said in a statement to the news outlet.

He said Mangum interfered with Walmart associates as they were surveilling and stopping confirmed shoplifters, and then refused to leave despite being asked to repeatedly.

‘We are reviewing our options including post-trial motions’, he said.

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References

  1. ^ Rachael Bunyan (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  2. ^ Tom Brown For Mailonline (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  3. ^ Walmart (www.dailymail.co.uk)