Jury Awards $105K to Black Woman Falsely Accused of Shoplifting, Arrested at H&M
A 59-year-old grandmother was awarded more than $100,000 after a jury found her falsely arrested for shoplifting at the H&M clothing store at the Clackamas Town Center mall in Portland, Oregon back in May 2011. Brenda Moaning says she was singled out by loss-prevention officers because she is black. Brenda was the only black non-employee in the store and was "followed for 15 minutes by the security guards even though she wasn’t doing anything suspicious," according to attorney Jason Kafoury. “After I saw the video, it’s 15 minutes of me being watched in the store in the dress that I had purchased from them the day before,” she told KOIN. In the footage, which was shown in court, the camera focuses in on Brenda several times while she shops and eventually checks out. Before paying the clerk, she offers to pay in advance for a $5 shirt at the front of the store. She pays and then picks up the $5 tee on her way out. That’s when loss prevention officers grabbed her even after the clerk acknowledged the purchase and watched her put the shirt in her bag. “Both of my arms got snatched behind me at the same time, and I thought about how I had put the top in the bag. So I said, ‘I prepaid. Look at the receipt!’” she said. But the officers didn't believe her. Two loss prevention officers and one H&M security guard forced her into a security room, and according to court documents, told her she “looked like a common thief.” While jurors did find H&M liable for battery, false arrest and punitive damages, they say Brenda didn't prove racial discrimination, but they said H&M employees had committed false arrest and acted with malice. She, nor any black people, should shop at the BeBe in Houston if the allegations are true.
Here's the surveillance video.