Sherell Bates was checking out when a security officer demanded to know what was under her blouse.https://t.co/umJ3MrbxSX— BET Her TV (@BETherTV) August 13, 2018
A pregnant woman paying for school supplies at her local Staples store on Friday was approached by a police officer demanding to know what was underneath her shirt.
Sherrell Bates was shopping at Staples in Pineville, North Carolina, when she was accused by the store of stealing. Bates, who is 34-weeks pregnant with twins, was at the cash register purchasing back-to-school items.
Bates said she was approached by the police officer, who demanded to know what she had beneath her shirt during the transaction at the cash register. Bates, who assumed he was joking initially, replied “Twins. I'm 34 weeks with twins. I'm having a boy and a girl.”
Apparently, the police officer did not believe Bates and asked her if she was sure. Bates then lifted her shirt to appease the officer.
“To avoid him asking me again, I actually lifted my shirt just a little bit, just to expose my belly, so he could see that I’m just a regular pregnant person,” Bates told WSOC TV.
The Pineville Police Department verified to Newsweek that an off-duty police officer wearing a uniform confronted Bates after being told that a woman in the store was concealing merchandise under her blouse.
The manager admitted to calling the police on Bates after she confronted him. Staples issued an apology to Bates and gave her a refund, explaining that the store has experienced thefts previously where people have stolen merchandise by hiding the items underneath their clothes.
The assumption that Bates, a black woman, was up to no good — even as she paid for her items at the cash register — is just more evidence of the blatant racism that people of color face on a daily basis in the United States. Apparently, shopping while black and pregnant can be added to the list of things black folks can’t do in America.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser