Walmart’s loss prevention efforts are at the center of a proposed class action filed pro se by a licensed attorney who claims he was among shoppers racially “singled out and treated less favorably by a Walmart employee” while attempting to leave the premises. The 32-page case out of Virginia similarly looks to represent consumers with disabilities who the plaintiff claims were also “detained or assaulted by a Walmart employee performing loss prevention-related acts.”
The complaint focuses on Walmart’s apparent policy of targeting potential shoplifters, which the plaintiff argues has subtly shifted into “consumer racial profiling” by those tasked with loss prevention. According to the suit, Walmart’s reduction of its full-time workforce has made the company increasingly reliant on store greeters to check receipts and engage in other loss-prevention measures.
As the plaintiff, an American Indian, tells it in the complaint, during a June 2018 visit to a Colonial Heights Walmart, a greeter “forcibly pulled his shopping cart away” before demanding to see his receipt. The plaintiff claims this action caused his shopping cart to fall over and spill the goods he purchased into the parking lot.
The plaintiff says the disturbance, which caused him to become disoriented, lose his balance, and stumble, looked from the outside as though the greeter was “apprehending a shoplifter and incited two bystanders to assist” in tackling the plaintiff to the ground. The plaintiff alleges that his bags were searched thereafter “for the sole purpose of prosecuting [him] as a shoplifter.” According to the suit, the Colonial Heights Police Department concluded the plaintiff had purchased each item, and the man was brought to the hospital by ambulance.
After the incident, the case continues, Walmart allegedly took possession of the plaintiff’s items and failed to issue any refund to the man’s credit card.
“[The plaintiff] was psychologically unable to return to Wal-Mart [sic] for his purchased goods and Wal-Mart refused to speak with [the plaintiff] by phone,” the case says.