On May 22, 2018, a twenty-year-old African American female was shopping at a Target store in Michigan. As she finished shopping and started to exit the store, a plain clothes Target loss prevention officer confronted her and accused her of stealing a bikini. He grabbed her arm to prevent her from leaving. Then, a second uniformed loss prevention officer aggressively handcuffed her and began pulling her backward by the handcuffs into the store yelling that she had stolen swimwear panties on underneath her clothing in front of other customers. She was held against her will and falsely imprisoned in a loss prevention room.
While held against her will in the loss prevention room, she was instructed to lift up her shirt and pull down her pants exposing her body in front of two male employees, to prove her innocence. She retained high profile criminal defense attorney Maurice Davis, Esquire of the Davis Law Group from Detroit, Michigan, and national civil rights activist Jasmine Rand of Rand Law, L.L.C., known for her representation of the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown families, and whom regularly represents victims of sexual violence. Davis and Rand will pursue legal claims against Target corporation including race and gender discrimination.
Attorney Maurice Davis stated: “What I find astounding is that Target’s corporate office has not even reached out to apologize to our client, or to take responsibility for the violation of our client’s rights. Our team will diligently pursue all legal remedies due to our client, including exploring whether we will advocate for criminal charges to be brought against the loss prevention officers that falsely arrested our client, detained and imprisoned her, and forced her to remove her clothing for her freedom.” Rand added: “We cannot ignore the fact that this case is not an isolated incident of the mistreatment of Black women in our nation. Chikesia Clemons was hand-cuffed and publicly disrobed on a Waffle House floor with no regard for her dignity because she asked for plastic utensils. In the instant case, our client was forced to take her clothes off in front of two men to earn her freedom. Target has a recent history of discriminating against Blacks and Latinos in its hiring practices. Target, as a corporation that profits from the dollars of women and African Americans, must be held accountable to our client and to its customers to ensure this does not happen to another woman. We all have a responsibility to protect the bodily integrity of women and to prevent all forms of sexual violence perpetuated against women and to eradicate “me too” moments for future generations.”