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2 Black men accused Walmart of racial discrimination, saying they were handcuffed and accused of stealing when they tried to return a TV

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Walmart is facing a racial-discrimination lawsuit. Walmart
  • Two Black men are suing Walmart, accusing it of racial discrimination.

  • The men say Walmart staff falsely accused them of stealing when they tried to return a TV.

  • One broke down in tears after being handcuffed by police, the suit said.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Two Black men in their 50s are suing Walmart, alleging that the retailer falsely accused them of stealing when they tried to return a TV.

The plaintiffs Dennis Stewart, a former police officer, and Terence Richardson, a pastor, were handcuffed by the police at a Walmart in the Houston suburb of Conroe, Texas, after trying to return a $300 TV last September, the lawsuit said. Stewart bought the TV earlier in the day but said it wasn't working properly, and so wanted to return it, the lawsuit said.

The two men said that when they went to return the TV, a white employee at the customer-service counter accused them of stealing it and refused to acknowledge their receipt as proof of purchase.

They said the associate called the police. The lawsuit said the police arrived, handcuffed them, and took them to the loss-prevention office, where Stewart was said to have broken down in tears.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Courthouse News was first to report it.

Insider contacted Walmart for comment but did not immediately hear back.

Read more: I'm a Black woman in tech who was spared from daily microaggressions thanks to remote work. Here's how work-from-home can make your office less racist.

The police later released Stewart and Richardson, but the lawsuit said the store manager asked the pair to sign a paper confirming they would be arrested if they returned to the store.

The men say a Walmart associate shouted at them: "Take this f---ing receipt, take that f---ing TV, get the f--- out of this store, and never f---ing come back."

The suit said the two men were "regularly tormented and awakened from their sleep with nightmares about what they experienced at the Walmart."

"Such treatment hurts so deeply it is impossible to describe," it said. "It is like a cancer that eats at them every moment of the day - causing them to try to avoid people they think might be inclined to act the same way toward them."

Stewart and Richardson are accusing Walmart of racial discrimination, false arrest and imprisonment, and breach of contract.

The suit said they were "dehumanized" and made to look like criminals when they were just following Walmart's returns policy.

This isn't the first time Walmart has faced a racial-discrimination lawsuit. In 2018, a Black customer sued the company, alleging that it was intentionally locking up inexpensive beauty products made for Black people. Retailers often put higher-priced products in glass cases to protect them from theft.

At the time, Walmart told Insider it did "not tolerate discrimination of any kind." It later said it would stop putting these products behind glass cases.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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