Walmart Ordered To Pay $4.4M To Oregon Man In Racial Profiling Case

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A grand jury in Oregon has ordered Walmart to pay $4.4 million in damages to a man who sued the store after he said he was racially profiled by an employee at a Portland-area store in 2020.

According to the lawsuit, the employee, Joe Williams, “spied” on Michael Mangum while he shopped for a light bulb at the store, ordered him to leave, and called the police when he refused, KGW News reported.

“When Mr. Mangum protested that he had done nothing wrong, defendant Williams ordered him to leave the store, then called non-emergency police dispatch and summoned police, reporting that he ‘had a person refusing to leave,’” according to the lawsuit as shared by KGW News.

 Williams told the dispatcher that Mangum had not acted violently or appeared impaired and that the customer “just kept checking me out” and “started flipping out on me” when the two passed each other in the store, the lawsuit states.

According to Mangum’s attorneys, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded and “refused to take action against Mangum.” The deputies reportedly made that decision based on Williams’ “shifting explanations” for why he called and his “reputation for making false reports to police.”

Magnum’s defense team added that two local deputies met the director and assistant manager of the Walmart store the next day. During that meeting, deputies noted they had noticed a “pattern of behavior” in which Williams would call police to report “dangerous active situations, such as customers physically assaulting him or other employees,” which were not occurring.

The store and Walmart executives kept Williams on the job for several more months. The lawsuit states that he was fired in July 2020 for “mishandling $35 of Walmart property.”

Walmart senior director for national media relations Randy Hargrove said the company considers the $4.4 million verdict “excessive” in a statement.

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