Black man says he was followed by Bloomingdale's staff but loses racial profiling lawsuit

By Charmaine Little | Dec 6, 2018

PHILADELPHIA - A Bloomingdale’s shopper’s claims that the store racially profiled him multiple times fell short in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Nov. 15.

While Jerome Justin Spencer, who is an African-American male, could detail his encounters with workers at the store’s location in King of Prussia, it wasn’t enough to back his lawsuit. 

In his several accounts, Spencer said he was followed and met with rough stares from people he said were secret shoppers for Bloomingdale’s and even members of the location’s loss prevention team, indicating that he thought they were trying to see if he would steal. 

Still, since he wasn’t actually approached, the court said his claims were not deep enough to survive Bloomingdale’s motion for summary judgment. The court said even statistics Spencer provided didn’t give him proper standing.

“In support of his case, Spencer has offered nothing more than raw data that shows that more African-Americans than Caucasians were stopped and/or detained for shoplifting during 2016 and 2017,” the court said. 

“This data simply establishes that a majority of the individuals stopped and/or detained were African-American. It seems as if Spencer wanted to display a pattern from Bloomingdale’s that would possibly prove his point that the store racially profiled African-Americans. But since there was no evidence of whether the people who were detained were actually convicted, it was difficult for the court to take on this idea as fact."

The court added that since Spencer was never actually stopped or verbally accused of shoplifting, he didn’t provide enough evidence to prove he was a victim of discrimination in the popular store. 

Since Spencer overall failed to prove there was a genuine dispute of material trial, the court granted the retailer its motion for summary judgment.

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