Last year Michael Mangum filed a lawsuit against Walmart and one of its employees, alleging that in March of 2020 he was followed around a store in Wood Village, Oregon by a security worker and was asked to leave once he confronted the employee. According to the suit, Mangum was shopping for a light bulb for his refrigerator.
Court documents also state that Joe Williams, the security worker, threatened to call the police if Mangum did not exit the store. Mangum refused to leave.
In a statement on Monday, Mangum's attorney, Gregory Kafoury praised his client for his bravery and resolve in the face of racial profiling.
"His jobs would have been at great risk had he been charged with a crime, but he refused to be intimidated by Williams' lies and bullying," Kafoury said. Mangum works for a housing project in Portland and as a counselor for at-risk youth.
Randy Hargrove, a spokesperson for Walmart, called the $4.4 million settlement "excessive" and claimed that Williams was not following Mangum. Williams is no longer employed at Walmart but Hargrove declined to elaborate any further.
"Mr. Mangum was never stopped by Walmart's Asset Protection," Hargrove said. "He interfered with our associates as they were surveilling and then stopped confirmed shoplifters, and then refused to leave despite being asked to repeatedly by our staff and Multnomah County deputies."
In the African American community, “shopping while Black” is still an ever-present reality.
According to a survey conducted by DealAid in 2021, of more than 1,000 Black consumers, 90% have experienced racial profiling and harassment while shopping.