As many of you may be aware of I was falsely accused of shoplifting at Vision Works at Stonecrest Mall in Lithonia Georgia and accused and taken to jail for disorderly conduct instead. If you want proof you can view what I was taken into custody for at http://drop.io/falseaccusation . In addition I will be uploading other articles related to the subject as time permits.
In any event I had to write this post today because as I’m doing research on the issue I became afraid not just for myself but for everyone who walks into a shopping mall, place of business, or retail establishment. I am certainly afraid for folks to go to the mall that I went to. In this harsh economic environment one should ask themselves if they can afford the loss of reputation and the innuendo that can be garnered from a false and malicious accusation that can linger with you even if you have not done anything wrong. One should seriously weigh this issue before entering a retail establishment. The facts are in this climate shopkeepers can utter any amount of lies about you they choose to. The facts are also in that you don’t know who’s behind the counter and what their morals and values are. There are actually immoral people working as shopkeepers, police officers, and security guards who will tell lies just for fun and entertainment or just because they don’t like the way you look.
If you have places where you have shopped for years without incident and others have too. It is probably wise to stick to areas like this but if people are whispering about a location and it’s treatment of individuals is questionable, it’s probably wise to stay away from there especially if you have an employer, are young and have a future or just have dreams and aspirations. Furthermore the emotional toll and stress of being falsely accused and harassed is not worth it. Finally the parents of Teenagers should keep their children away from establishments that have a history and record of doing bad things.
While loss of reputation is something that most people can live with, the loss of life is something that no one can live with because they are dead. As I’ve been researching the issue of the falsely accused. I’ve come across disturbing incidents involving the not guilty and the guilty that have resulted in individuals being beaten to death in the back rooms of stores and malls, people being shot in the parking lot, and many deaths related to individuals being wrongfully and rightfully accused of shoplifting. I suppose if a person is a shoplifter they should go to the backroom and try to work it out but if you are minding your own business, have never ever been accused of stealing or shoplifting in your life, have never been convicted of a felony, and only convicted of misdemeanors related to traffic tickets like me you should really hesitate before you go into any back room with anyone or even leave the spot you are in, judging from what I’ve read and what’s been on the news lately in terms of officers shooting people in the back, and just plain killing people without cause. “DO NOT GO INTO A BACK ROOM IF YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG AND FEEL THAT YOU ARE BEING MALICIOUSLY TARGETED YOU MAY NOT GET OUT OF THE ROOM ALIVE.”
As for honestly what to do I don’t know, in my case I told the security guard I did not want to get out of the car but he insisted.
I am wondering if trying to call an attorney is even possible when falsely accused in a retail establishment. Isn’t it strange that as citizens of the United States we have rights and can not be detained without cause or proof but as soon as we step into a retail location evidently by the many cases that I’ve been reading. Individuals give up their constitutional and Miranda rights when accosted by a Security Guard in a retail establishment. Illegal search and seizure is against the law but because I was in the parking lot of an establishment the security guard could insist that I get out of the car with a gun attached this hip.
The following are quotes from blogs and other sources discussing the above issues.
The following post is taken from a blog called Civil Rights Watch
Many big-box retail stores have come under fire lately for treating their minority customers in a discriminatory fashion. For instance, Macy’s East was sued by the State of New York for discrimination in the form of racial profiling in its New York stores. On January 14, 2005, Macy’s reached a settlement with the state, agreeing to pay a fine in the amount of $600,000 and to retrain its security forces to avoid racial profiling in the future.
However, next to Dillard’s, Macy’s looks like Jesse Jackson’s Shirts ‘n More. Since 1994, six people have been killed in Dillard’s. Five of them were minorities. The deaths occurred in Houston, San Antonio, Memphis, Arlington (TX), Cleveland and El Paso. None of the victims had weapons. Some were accused of shoplifting; some had the temerity to argue with Dillard’s security officers about unfair treatment and paid with their lives. Two of the victims had, in fact, stolen goods from Dillard’s (one stole a box of sunglasses, the other stole a beard trimmer). Those two people were shot in the parking lot, after having made it out of the store. Though criminal behavior, shoplifting is not a capital crime in the United States and security officers are not empowered to act as judge, jury and executioner. Furthermore, alleged shoplifting does not give the officer-cum-cowboy the right to endanger the lives of all the other people in the mall parking lot as he shoots at his suspect-bad guy.
Dillard’s employs off-duty and retired police officers as its security guards. Because Dillard’s views these officers as independent contractors, the company does not offer them any training or guidelines, they are not monitored and Dillard’s does not conduct any checks into their personal or professional backgrounds. These are the security guards who harass, beat, strip search and kill Dillard’s customers. Dillard’s stands alone as the only major department chain to use off-duty police officers. The company still maintains that using armed off-duty or retired officers for security is the best way to ensure the safety of its shoppers. You be the judge.
The killings that have taken place in Dillard’s stores are too numerous for me to describe in this brief column. However, I would like to elaborate on one of the most spectacular killings, that of Darryl Robinson, of Houston, Texas.
On June 1, 1994, Darryl Robinson went to a Dillard’s in Houston, Texas. Darryl was not suspected of shoplifting. A clerk accused Darryl of demanding $1 million from her and she called in Dillard’s security officers. Other witnesses and family members say Darryl asked for a $50 advance on his Dillard’s credit card. Instead of escorting Darryl out of the store for causing a disturbance, the security officers took him into a back room and beat him. The officers, however, were not finished with Darryl Robinson; after beating him, the officers hog-tied him. The security guards had already handcuffed Darryl’s wrists and his ankles. But that was not restraint enough. The officers bent Darryl in half and linked the wrist and ankle restraints behind his back. He was tied like a hog. Witnesses say an assistant manager was seen riding Darryl like a “bucking bronco” when he was tied up. Darryl died, in the hog-tied position, on a rolling flatbed dolly used to move boxes. There were two possible causes of his death: either Darryl died of a heart attack or of what is called “positional asphyxiation,” meaning he suffocated due to the hog-tying, fear, and the weight of the officers sitting on him.
Minority shoppers at Dillard’s are not always killed, most of the time the complaints come from people who have been harassed and humiliated. The law firm of Chargois & Ernster in Houston represents over 100 plaintiffs across the country who allege they were subjected to discriminatory treatment at Dillard’s stores. For information on the most recent cases, please see this article in HispanicBusiness.com.
Finally, it is apparently as difficult to be an employee of color at Dillard’s as it is to be a shopper. For a class action filed in 1999, Dillard’s reached a $5.6 million settlement on behalf of African-American employees in their Kansas and Missouri stores.
Dillard’s is as dangerous for minorities as Iraq is for, well, everybody. For this, Dillard’s is the reprehensible first recipient of Civil Rights Watch’s first Retail Wil’ Out Award. I urge you to read the full story on the Houston Press about the retail catastrophe that Dillard’s has allowed itself to become.
The blog entry states that two of the killings involved people who actually had shoplifted something. They state one man stole a box of sunglasses. This by itself is believable but when you read the following it makes you wonder if items were planted on the individuals once they were dead.
The following is a shoplifitng rendition of a college student who was killed n Nashville and is at rest with the belief that he’s a shoplifter and a thief. This account is going to be a lot skewed because it’s coming from the police department. If you read my ticke at http://drop.io/falseaccusation . You will find the officer used words to skew the ticket instead of just stating the facts, he made statements that can never be proven.
Metro Nashville Police Department
* Media Releases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29 , 2006
The shoplifting suspect shot during a scuffle with a Tennessee State Trooper in the parking lot of Hickory Hollow Mall Thursday night is identified as a 21-year-old Tennessee State University student from Las Vegas, Nevada. Efforts are continuing to locate his next of kin in Nevada. He is in critical condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Trooper Aussie Thaxter, 41, who fired his state-issued gun one time, was treated at Vanderbilt for injuries sustained when he was dragged by the suspect’s car. He was released during the night.
Thaxter was working an off-duty security job at Dillard’s department store in a THP utility uniform when he was notified by an employee of a suspiciously acting man in the men’s department who was carrying several designer shirts and said he would be paying for them in another area of the store. While in Thaxter’s view, the man fled from the store to the parking lot carrying the shirts. Thaxter gave chase and ordered him to stop.
The man got into a Plymouth Breeze sedan that was backed into a handicapped parking space. As the suspect started the motor, Thaxter reached into the car through the open door in an effort to turn off the ignition. He was unsuccessful and the suspect put the car in gear and began to pull away with Thaxter still partly inside. Thaxter was dragged for about 20 yards before he managed to fire a shot. The suspect was hit in the neck and Thaxter fell to the pavement. The Plymouth continued on, entered a bank parking lot and came to rest against the bank building. A Metro officer who was in the mall was told of the commotion and rushed to the bank parking lot. He immediately radioed for an ambulance.
The investigation into the shooting is being headed by the Metro Police Department’s Homicide Unit. The THP’s Criminal Investigation Division, the TBI and an investigator from the District Attorney’s Office are assisting. The full investigative report will be forwarded to District Attorney General Torry Johnson for review when it is complete.
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The above incident is about a supposedly guilty shoplifter who did not live to tell the story. However I was falsely accused of stealing. I went to jail for disorderly conduct. I was stripped down, I had to put on a smelly orange jump suit and was being watched every second by an attendant. Not only did I pull all of my clothes off and put on others. I was given a drug test, an AIDS test and had to give urine, and finger printed. I had to leave my car on the mall grounds. Furthermore I had to give up my pocket book and everything in it had to be checked into the police locker. I was stripped of everything. Finally I was released on my signature because I did not have a criminal history what so ever.
I say all of this to say that the circumstances surrounding the dead college student above are eerily similar to mine. I was approached and accused of shoplifting while in my car, my keys were in the ignition and I was about to leave the premises. The security guard was at my window what if I would have tried to just leave, though I could not because I was blocked in by a truck. Would I have been shot and had a box of sunglasses planted in my car since it was a vision care place I went to and forever known as a shoplifter.
The parking lot killings are too similar I am wondering if anyone accused of shoplifting and shot in a parking lot while in their car is guilty. It’s too convenient. In the first quoted blog entry it’s stated that a man had a box of sunglasses and was shot in the parking lot with a “whole” box of sunglasses. It’s beginning to look like people target individuals to kill and plant items on them after they reach their cars because one can not plant multiple items on a dead body in the middle of a store but someones car is definitely a good place to plant items.