A Black gay couple is coming out about an incident in which they allege a shop clerk phoned police after they purchased $600 in high-quality products.
According to Newsweek, Lamar Richards claims that Bed Bath & Beyond personnel in Toledo, Ohio, accused him and his partner of attempting to shoplift on June 16, claiming “too many high ticket items” in their cart.
According to Richards, the Advocacy Director of the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, they were approached by a store clerk who removed products worth more than $200 from their shopping cart and held them while they browsed.
After they finished their $600 purchase, Richards disclosed that the police were summoned to the Bed Bath & Beyond shop because the staff accused them of attempting to steal.
“Consider that. Buying your first house,” Richards wrote, according to Newsweek. “Excited to start creating money for future generations. As a result of having “too many expensive items in your cart,” you are accused of theft after visiting a @BedBathBeyond store.
Richards said that when he and his partner questioned the manager and the worker who called the police about their motivations, they responded, “It’s our right to call.” The duo was recognized by store management and staff to Toledo police as “two Black males.”
The client expressed dissatisfaction and said they were unaware that there were police officers waiting for them inside the business.
They made a point of highlighting their upcoming graduation and their connection to Johns Hopkins University by donning a T-shirt. Their boyfriend was also there and was wearing a Michigan College of Pharmacy t-shirt.
“We literally just wanted to buy some stuff for our new house,” he said, “and THIS is the welcome we get to the area.”
Richards said that despite police telling the pair “you all did nothing wrong,” they were not provided with a way to get in touch with a corporate or district management to bring the issue up the ladder at the home products behemoth.
After the event, Richards said he prayed for almost an hour in his vehicle while “asking God to give me peace and calm my anxiety,” stating he had “never felt so humiliated” in his whole life.
The human rights attorney who defended the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Ben Crump, was said to have posted Richards’ Twitter videos, which had amassed millions of views as of Tuesday afternoon, according to WTOL11 News. Richards’ current legal counsel is Crump.
The lawyer tweeted, “They deserve answers for this humiliating experience,” according to WTOL.
According to Newsweek, Bed Bath & Beyond had more than 1,500 shops in North America five years ago.
This large box retailer specializes in bedding, bathroom items, and home décor. Currently, the network has around 365 open locations. The firm failed to get the necessary funds to continue functioning, according to a court record, and on April 23 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Bed Bath & Beyond stated in a statement that it takes matters of this kind seriously and does not allow discrimination. As they do with all reported instances inconsistent with rules and procedures, the business said that its executives are very troubled by the reported incident and are looking into it.
According to Newsweek, Richards claimed in his tweet that two young, homosexual Black men were wrongly reported to the police while merely shopping while trying to buy a @roborockglobal vacuum. “No less during Pride Month and the weekend of Juneteenth.”