Walmart Charged With Serious Crime
Walmart has been court ordered to pay out over $4 million due to one of its employees being complicit in a serious crime.
A grand jury in Multnomah County, Oregon has ordered Walmart to pay $4.4 million in damages to a man who sued the store, saying he was racially profiled and harassed by an employee at a Portland location in 2020. According to the lawsuit, the caucasian staffer spied on Michael Mangum as he browsed the store and ordered him to leave a short while later. When he refused and protested that he had done nothing wrong, defendant Williams called the police who were asked to act on false charges.
Interestingly, the Walmart employee told the dispatch operator that Mangum had not acted violently and did not appear impaired. He explained that the customer “just keeps checking me out” and “started flipping out on me” when the two passed each other in the store, according to People. Mangum’s lawyers said while local deputies responded, they refused to take action against the 59-year-old based on the staffer’s “shifting explanations” for calling the police.
The Walmart employee had developed a reputation among local law enforcement for unnecessarily calling the police, according to the Associated Press and the lawsuit. The day after the initial incident, Sheriff’s Sergeant Bryan White met with store management for the Wood Village location and told them that Williams had developed a pattern of behavior in which he would report “dangerous active situations” that were not actually happening. Mangum’s lawyers also stated that Williams falsely told police that their client threatened to “smash him in the face.”
Following the court’s decision, Walmart disputed the ruling in a statement to CNN Business. While the retailer said it does not tolerate discrimination, a spokesperson called the verdict excessive and not supported by evidence. “Mr. Mangum was never stopped by Asset Protection. He interfered with our associates as they were surveilling and then stopped confirmed shoplifters,” spokesperson Randy Hargrove said. “He then refused to leave despite being repeatedly asked by our staff deputies. We are reviewing our options including post-trial motions.”
Meanwhile, Mangum’s lawsuit claims the Walmart employee called law enforcement with the intent to, unlawfully discriminate against him. The documents also allege that Williams’ call was intended to make him feel harassed, humiliated, and embarrassed, as well as to cause him to suffer damage to his reputation or standing within the community. Additionally, the court papers say that the employee’s actions intended to cause Mangum to be expelled from the store where he was lawfully allowed to be.
“As a result, Michael Mangum continues to suffer, and may permanently suffer from embarrassment, fear, humiliation, anger, and indignity,” the complaint continued. Meanwhile, Greg Kafoury, the plaintiff’s trial attorney, said if law enforcement acted on the Walmart employee’s claims, Mangum’s jobs would have been at risk had he been charged with an unreasonable crime. He added that his client refused to be intimidated by the staffer’s lies and bullying. “Because of his courage, we were able to show the jury an unconscionable failure of responsibility by the world’s largest corporation,” the attorney said in the statement.