Two black women were searched by police at a Miramar Walgreens even after paying for their items and leaving the store, Walgreens surveillance video showed.
On June 12, Crystal Davis and Santanna Neal entered the store, 8001 Miramar Pkwy., to buy supplies for an upcoming business trip. Within minutes, a Walgreens employee, who was also black, called the police saying there were two females walking around the store putting items into two empty bags. The employee requested that police check the women’s bags, saying she was not allowed to check herself.
“One of their employees essentially called and lied,” Attorney Jasmine Rand told the Herald.
Video surveillance shows the women reaching over their purse to put items in a cart. It then shows them paying for the items at the register before leaving the store.
After exiting the store, three Miramar police officers stopped the pair and told them to go back into the store. An officer then thoroughly searched the women’s bags on the floor near the entrance. He found nothing.
“The situation was probably the most traumatic thing that I’ve been through in my life,” Davis said at a press conference Wednesday. “I worked my whole life to take advantage of opportunities that were provided to me and, in one second, I was stripped of all that.”
Rand, who is representing the two women, said her clients were treated without dignity.
“The problem is that Walgreens and the Miramar Police Department assumed their guilt,” she said. “These are two women who have a lucrative business in the makeup and cosmetic industry.”
Rand cited similar incidents at a Michigan Target and Florida Waffle House. She said her office also received more evidence of racial discrimination at the same Walgreens location. She has also worked on the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases.
“This is really endemic across the nation,” she said. “We’ve seen racism in the form of police brutality erupt across the nation in the last few years and now we’re seeing racial discrimination in public accommodations.”
In a statement sent to the Herald, a Walgreens corporate spokesperson said, “We have personally met with and apologized to the customers and their representatives. We take this matter very seriously and are sorry it happened.”
The spokesperson also said Walgreens will be accelerating its existing unconscious bias and sensitivity training at its stores nationwide in the coming weeks. It also will continue its anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training.
Last month, Starbucks closed its stores nationwide for diversity training after an incident in which a white Starbucks manager in Philadelphia called police about two black customers who were sitting in the store without purchasing anything.