Ashanae Davis went into Target to shop, and endured a frightening and humiliating experience before she was allowed to leave, the woman said.
Davis, 20, a black woman, was exiting the Southfield, Michigan, store on May 22 when she was stopped by a white male security guard accusing her of theft, WXYZ reported. The woman says she believes the incident occurred because of her race.
He slapped handcuffs on her and took her to a back room, the news station reported. But on the way there, the loss prevention employee put Davis through the “Target Walk of Shame” — an alleged companywide practice of purposely drawing attention to suspected shoplifters as they’re being taken through the store, Davis’ attorney Jasmine Rand said Monday, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The guard shouted that Davis had stolen a bikini, according to Rand. Davis was then taken to the back room, where she had to go to great lengths to “obtain her freedom,” Rand told WXYZ. A white female manager told Davis to lift up her shirt to show she wasn’t hiding a bikini underneath her clothes, Rand said, NBC News reported.
Davis also had to pull her pants down, Rand told NBC News. Two male officers were in the room, she said.
“At first I was in shock, of course, and it was just very humiliating,” Davis said, reported WXYZ. “I felt degraded. It was sad. I was very upset.”
Rand and Davis’ other attorney, Maurice Davis, said workers didn’t find a bikini, the Free Press reported. Davis told NBC News she was “afraid of what was going to happen next."
Davis and her lawyers are calling the incident racial profiling, NBC News said. They plan to take legal action against Target for alleged race and gender discrimination, WXYZ reported.
“Target as a corporation has a standing history now of discriminating against black and Latino, people in their hiring practices," Rand said, reported FOX 2.
The company said in a statement Monday that it has fired an employee who was “directly involved” in the incident, the news station reported. It confirmed to NBC News that the security guard was the employee who was terminated.
"We want everyone who shops at Target to feel welcomed and respected and take any allegations of mistreatment seriously,” the company said, per FOX 2.
Target said Tuesday that Davis was stopped because the guard could see a swimsuit with tags in her bag. The swimsuit wasn't from Target, NBC News reported.