Houston police and a store security guard agree that a couple was wrongly strip searched after a manager accused them of shoplifting. The item in question? A $3 pair of earrings.
According to KHOU, Deadra Pattum and her fiance John Marsden were shopping at Y Beauty Supply last week to purchase hair extensions. Pattum said she picked up the pair of earrings to look at them, but put them back. At checkout though, she told the news station they were charged for the $3 jewelry.
“The owner said you people always steal,” Marsden said. “And he said give me the earrings and I call police.”
The couple was forced by the manager to remain in the store, and Marsden was told to strip to be searched.
“So I took off my socks and shoes and I took off my pants,” Marsden said.
“My rights were revoked,” he added.
A few minutes later, KHOU reported, the store’s security guard showed up. After consulting surveillance video, the guard found the couple did not pocket the earrings. Houston police also reviewed the footage and agreed.
“Everybody doesn’t shoplift,” Pattum told the news station. “Everybody is not a thief. There are still honest people in the world.”
Quanell X, a family advocate, told KHOU it was “a classic case of racial profiling in its most humiliating form.” He added that he thinks something needs to be done about this incident.
“I want more than an apology from these people,” Marsden said.
Watch KHOU’s report:
While store management wouldn’t comment on the case to the news station, it did say shoplifting is a problem for it. According to the report, the couple might pursue charges of an unlawful search.