As President Donald Trump and his supporters continue to beat their drum of racist antagonism against women of color in Congress and those aligned with them, racism in the United States has popped up another way this week. A black couple in New York reports that when trying to have a party surrounding one of them proposing marriage to the other, they were interrupted a full three times and eventually followed out to the parking lot over fake allegations that they stole a t-shirt. It’s unclear where the allegations even came from, and their only apparent basis is what the girlfriend turned fiancé Cathy-Marie Hamlet denounced as racial profiling.
‘I have never been so humiliated in my life, myself and some of my friends left Angry Orchard in tears. On what was supposed to be one of the best days of my life, I was chased out of Angry Orchard by security who followed us all the way to the parking lot.’
She explains that the incident began when her now fiancé Clyde Jackson went out privately to a table outside the Angry Orchard gift shop at a farm in the Walden, New York area and was preparing to propose. An unidentified female security guard approached them at that time and claimed she “was told” that the man had stolen a t-shirt from the shop. The guard had him empty his pockets — although it’s unclear if she actually expected to find a shirt crammed into a pocket? — and when she found nothing indicating any truth to her ambiguous allegation, she left, but not for long.
As she and the apparent rest of the security team watched their gathering unfold, they approached two more times with these allegations from who knows where ever so conveniently altered to provide pretext to keep harassing and searching them. A second time, the white guard walked back up mid-proposal and demanded that Hamlet empty her purse because this time she “was told” that Jackson gave her the stolen item to transport in the bag, although Hamlet insists it obviously wasn’t even big enough to hold a t-shirt.
After the proposal successfully gets completed — and accepted — and half a dozen of the couple’s friends walk over to celebrate, the same guard again approached and at least this time dropped any pretext of having been “told” to be on the lookout and demanded to search everyone’s pockets and bags because, apparently, she felt there was some secret conspiracy of black people coming to steal her stupid t-shirts. At the third interaction, the first guard brought out almost half a dozen other guards, one of whom yelled for someone to call the police because she supposedly saw one of them steal a shirt. The guards eventually followed them all the way out to the parking lot and started photographing and video-taping them, with — again — absolutely no hard evidence that any of them had done anything wrong.
Check out Hamlet’s story:
So…I got engaged today! But we’ll get to that part later. Let me set the stage…This weekend was my fiancé’s 40th…
The company behind the establishment, which produces hard cider and maintains a visitors center, claims that they’ve reached out to the couple “to try to make things right and prevent something like this from happening again,” adding that additional staff training is on the way. It really shouldn’t take training to convince security guards that incessantly and ambiguously harassing a black couple who had literally done nothing to warrant their attention is wrong.
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