PORTLAND, OR — The DDA Multnomah County Grand Jury ordered Walmart to pay $4.4 million in damages to a man who sued the store, claiming he was racially profiled and harassed by a Walmart employee in a Portland, Oregon area store in 2020.
According to the lawsuit, the employee “spied on” Dovey.
Mangum as he was shopping, ordered him to leave and called the police when he refused, KGW reported.
According to the lawsuit and a press release from his lawyers, Mangum, who was 59 at the time, went to the Walmart in Wood Village on March 26, 2020 to buy a light bulb for his refrigerator. After Mangum arrived, he noticed store clerk Joe Williams staring at him while he shopped.
Williams told Mangum to leave the store, but Mangum refused, saying he had done nothing wrong. Mangum’s attorneys said Williams told Mangum he was going to call the police and tell them that Mangum had threatened to “smash him in the face.”
Williams called the non-emergency police dispatch line and told the operator he “had a person refusing to leave,” the lawsuit states.
According to Mangum’s attorneys, deputies from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office responded and “refused to take action against Mangum.” Lawyers said deputies made the decision based on Williams’ “shifting explanations” for why he called and because of his “reputation for making false reports to police”.
According to Mangum’s attorneys, the following day, Sheriff Sergeant Bryan White and another deputy met with the Walmart manager and the assistant manager and explained that the deputies had noticed a “pattern of behavior” in which Williams was calling the police to report “dangerous activities”. situations, such as customers physically attacking him or other employees”, that was not happening.
The store and Walmart corporate officials kept him on the job for several months. and fired him in July 2020 for “mishandling $35 of Walmart property,” according to the lawsuit.
Williams in a deposition denied allegations that he falsely called police, saying Mangum threatened to hit him.
Mangum filed a lawsuit against Walmart for negligent retention and action against a person who summons the police with improper intent.
“He lives the same message of self-respect that he teaches young people, ‘stand up for yourself when you know you’re right,'” Mangum’s attorney, Greg Kafoury, said in a statement. “Thanks to his courage, we were able to show the jury an inadmissible breach of responsibility by the greatest company in the world.”
Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove questioned some of the claims and said Walmart viewed the verdict as “excessive”.
“We do not tolerate discrimination. We believe the verdict is excessive and not supported by evidence,” Hargrove said in a statement to the outlet.
He said Mangum interfered with Walmart associates as they monitored and arrested confirmed shoplifters, then refused to leave despite repeated requests.
“We are considering our options, including post-trial motions,” he said.
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