Man says he was strip-searched after being wrongfully accused of stealing $3 earrings for blatantly racist reasons

Deadra Pattum and her fiancé, John Marsden, were at Y Beauty Supply in Houston, Texas last week, because Ms. Pattum was interested in buying some hair extensions. What should have been an everyday shopping experience became a humiliating one when the couple was accused by a store employee of trying to shoplift a pair of $3 earrings, as KHOU 11 News reports.

When Pattum bought the hair extensions, she noticed she had been overcharged on her receipt. When she brought it to a store employee’s attention, she was told she was overcharged because she and her fiancé had tried taking a $3 pair of earrings. The only thing is – she never took those earring. Ms. Pattum told KHOU, “I picked them up but I put them back.” Mr. Marsden says that the employee then said, “[The owner's] like, ‘You steal. You people always steal.’ And he said, ‘Give me earrings, I call police.’” That’s right – ‘you people.’ Geez.

Pattum and Marsden say they were forced to remain in the store, and that Marsden was ordered by the store manager to be strip-searched. He recounted to the station, “So I took off my socks, my shoes, I took off my pants. I was nervous. I was shaking a little bit. I was petrified." It was all unnecessary. A store security guard who looked at surveillance video couldn’t find anything amiss. The guard, whose identity was not revealed by KHOU, told the station, “I know that she wasn’t shoplifting.” Houston Police watched the video and came to the same conclusion.

Community activist and leader of the New Black Panther Party in Houston, Quanell X, told KHOU, “This was a classic case of racial profiling in its most humiliating form and something needs to be done about this.” The couple wants police to pursue charges against the store for an unlawful search, and Mr. Marsden says he wants, “more than an apology.” KHOU tried speaking to the owners of Y Beauty Supply, but were turned away.

More info: KHOU