In what appears to be yet another incident of racial profiling in America, a Victoria’s Secret manager allegedly called cops on an African-American woman who came to the shop to return an article that still had a security sensor on it.
Jovita Jones Cage made a purchase from the womenswear giant in Collierville, Tennessee, but the employer reportedly forgot to take the sensor off.
Like any good person, Cage went back to the shop with the intention of getting the problem fixed. She even took the receipt with her.
But, little did she know, the employer who was technically at fault would turn the tables on her –and that too for apparently no good reason.
“She got the receipts out and was able to find the right one and remove the sensor. I told her she could keep the bag there, because I was going to go shopping around the store,” Cage explained.
Cage, who is a Howard University graduate and works as a tutor, went ahead to look around the shop. However, her casual visit to the store soon came to an abrupt end when a Collierville Police officer walked up to her and handcuffed her without question.
"The police officer walked straight up to me and slapped handcuffs on me," she said.
Upon asking why she was being arrested, she was told by the manager, “to put both of my hands behind my back, because I was under arrest for shoplifting.”
For obvious reasons, the entire episode was pretty distressful for Cage, who was mortified and began to cry. She was also particularly worried about any of her students or their parents finding her in the compromising situation she was forcibly put into.
“I don’t know if one of the parents of the kids I tutor could’ve been there. I don’t know if one of my old professors could’ve been in there,” she added.
Later, the officer took her out of the store and aggressively searched her bag. Obviously, he didn’t come across any stolen items that would confirm her guilty of shoplifting, but he still told her she was banned from shopping there.
"At this point, I'm traumatized and crying," said Cage.
The African-American woman didn’t waste any time and made a complaint with the corporate office. The representative got in touch with her and offered a $100 gift card which she rejected.
The company released the following statement:
“We are sincerely sorry for the experience Ms. Jones Cage had in our store. Bottom line, we made a mistake, and we do not tolerate this behavior. Our head of stores has been trying to reach Ms. Jones Cage to personally apologize for her experience. Victoria’s Secret is adamant that all customers be treated with dignity and respect. We have investigated the matter, and the associate involved is no longer employed with our brand. In addition, we are meeting with every associate in the store to reinforce our values and policies. We are committed to delivering an excellent shopping experience to every customer, every time … we have work to do – and we are dedicated to this mission."
However, Cage was too disturbed by the incident to let go of it after a mere apology. She went on to submit a formal complaint to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
“They’re going to have to do more. I want justice not only for me, but for people everywhere. I hope after this, other victims of racial profiling will come forward,” Cage said. “It’s solidarity. It’s not just about African Americans. It’s about everyone being treated fairly.”
It was actually extremely obnoxious and unprofessional of the employer and the cop to subject the woman to such scrutiny and mortification without having any solid evidence on board.
Moreover, it is important such incidents are not swept under the rug or else bigots apparently thriving in such multinational companies, such as Starbucks and now Victoria’s Secret, would think they can get away with traumatizing people of color when they are just going about their daily lives.
Recurring incidents of white America needlessly calling police on African Americans just reinforces the idea that mere existence of people of color is deemed a crime in progress in the country.
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