PORTLAND -- A Portland woman and her teenage son were awarded $67,000 by a Multnomah County jury that ruled Walgreens falsely detained them for shoplifting. Teresa White said she felt she was the victim of racial profiling.
In May 2012 a cashier at the store at Ainsworth Street and M.L. King Boulevard thought White put 15 cosmetics items into her purse while son Deante Strickland acted as lookout. Police were called about a theft in progress.
Police had her empty the purse in the entryway of the store and found nothing stolen. The mother and son were then detained there for thirty minutes while surveillance video was reviewed.
"It was really embarrassing. I thought about my reputation a lot that night," said Strickland, a standout athlete at Central Catholic High. "I'd just been in the Oregonian a couple months ahead of time, before the incident."
White said she was glad to have the incident behind her. "I didn't want this to continue. You shouldn't be judged by what you have on, and the color of your skin."
Her attorney, Jason Kafoury, said the store had destroyed the surveillance video and internal notes about the day of the incident. Walgreens declined comment.
Last year, a jury ordered Walgreens to pay Henry Peth, who had come from Ghana, $35,000. He was strip-searched in the middle of the store after suspicions he had shoplifted. Video showed he had stolen nothing.