Macy’s Theft Case Dropped After Shopper Alleges Racial Profiling

macy's theft case 2014

The Macy’s theft case involving a Pakistani woman accused of attempting to steal less than $200 in items has been dropped. The woman’s lawyer alleged that the retail giant treated her unfairly and wrongly claimed she’d intended to pocket the merchandise in what he said was a case of racial profiling.

The Macy’s theft case stemmed from an incident at the flagship Herald Square location of the store on October 26 of last year.

Shopper Joweria Khalid was charged with misdemeanor theft after a guard alleged that she attempted to make off with the items as she moved from one floor to another on an escalator.

The Associated Press reports that prior to Khalid’s arrest, the 31-year-old woman endured an ordeal at the store including detention and a fine:

“Her lawyer said that she was simply planning to go to another cashier and that the security agent gave a misleading account of his observations of her trip to the store, made famous by the Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street… Khalid ended up being detained by Macy’s security for two hours, paying a $500 store fine and getting arrested, said her lawyer, Douglas Wigdor.”

Yahoo adds that Khalid had purchased another item before selecting the second set of things and boarding the escalator, and notes that her lawyer believes the guard misinterpreted her intent and misrepresented the incident to New York City Police:

“The security guard said he started watching Khalid when she went into the jewelry department around 4 p.m. because she had two large bags and was avoiding customer service workers. He stopped her when she tried to leave the store without paying for four items, according to his write-up… But the guard apparently didn’t notice Khalid bought a $33 bracelet at 4:09 p.m. before selecting the other merchandise.”

In response to the Macy’s theft case controversy, the retailer issued a statement specifically denying the practice of racial profiling inside their stores by guards.

According to Macy’s, the store practices a policy of “zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” but Khalid’s lawyer begs to differ.

Wigdor contends that his client fell victim to “another case in a pattern of Macy’s stopping and detaining people based on the color of their skin and their national origin.”

The Macy’s theft case was officially dropped after it was determined that the prosecution couldn’t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Amy Hare confirmed on Wednesday. It’s not clear whether Khalid’s initial $500 fine was refunded by Macy’s after charges against her were dropped.