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Black woman says Target racially profiled her, forced her to strip to prove she wasn’t stealing

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A black Michigan woman says that Target racially profiled her and forced her to strip down to prove that she wasn't stealing swimwear concealed underneath her clothing.

What are the details?

Ashanae Davis claimed that a white male Target employee forced her to take off her clothing after the store assumed she was stealing swimwear.

Now she's considering filing a lawsuit against the store.

Davis, 20, said that a loss-prevention officer accosted her while she was shopping in the Southfield, Michigan, store on May 20.

Davis alleged that the officer handcuffed her and led her to a back room, where she was told to strip down in order to prove that she wasn't hiding a swimsuit underneath her clothing.

"At first. I was in shock, of course, and it was just very humiliating,” Davis told WXYZ-TV. “I felt degraded. It was sad. I was very upset."

Jasmine Rand and Maurice Davis, the woman's attorneys, said that the store subjected their client to “The Target Walk of Shame,” which the attorneys alleged is a companywide practice.

The employee reportedly paraded a handcuffed Davis through the store and allegedly said loudly that she was stealing the swimwear that was concealed underneath her clothing.

"He said that over and over," Rand said during a Monday news conference. "Loud enough for other customers to hear and loudly enough to publicly humiliate our client."

Rand said that two other male officers were in the room when the alleged incident reportedly occurred. Rand noted that a white female manager joined the men and asked Davis to pull down her pants and lift her shirt to prove that she hadn't taken a swimsuit from the store.

Rand is a prolific civil rights attorney who has represented the families of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.

Was the search racially motivated?

During the news conference, Rand also said that the employee's actions were racially motivated.

"I would be very surprised if this has ever happened to a white woman at that Target location," Rand added.

"I was so scared," Davis told reporters at the news event. "I had never had anything close or near like that happen to me. Two men that I never met before, never seen before. So I was very scared and sad."

According to NBC News, Davis is still fearful to enter stores, weeks after the alleged incident.

"Sometimes I have anxiety attacks," she said. "It's just very hard for me to enter in stores now."

What did the Target rep say?

A Target rep told Newsweek that Davis previously purchased a swimsuit from another retailer, which she reportedly had in her bag. The tags were still on it, according to the rep, who also said that the "Target Walk of Shame" is not a company policy.

The rep also said that it didn't happen the way Davis said, and she was "quickly walked in a line to the security office," Newsweek reported.

The rep added that the man who led Davis to the security office was black, and not white, but had been fired from his position.

A statement from the rep read, "We want everyone who shops at Target to feel welcomed and respected and take any allegations of mistreatment seriously. We’re sorry for the actions of our former team member, who created an experience we don’t want any guest to have at Target. Upon reviewing our team’s actions, we terminated the team member who was directly involved and are addressing the situation with the security team at the store."

What else?

According to The Detroit Free Press, Rand said that her team and Davis have yet to file a suit against the store, but would "pursue civil damages and possible elements of criminal wrongdoing" by Target employees.

NBC News reported that Rand added, "Obviously, we want them held accountable for the violation of our client's rights. Really, to me, the person who is most culpable is the manager for letting this happen. She should have been trained to de-escalate the situation."

You can watch a video report on the alleged incident here.

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