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Black Man Files Lawsuit After Police Accuse Him of Shoplifting Even Though Suspects Description Was a White Man

West Chester Township, Ohio – A Black man in West Chester, Ohio is suing two police officers and a grocery store after he says he was racially profiled and illegally detained for shoplifting.

Eric Lindsay has filed a lawsuit against a Meijer grocery store and West Chest police Officers Tanner Csendes and Timothy Mitkenbaugh, alleging that the officers racially profiled him and detaining him illegally, while police were looking for a shoplifting suspect in the store.

Lindsay says he went to the Meijer store on his way home from work Jan. 29, 2021. Shortly after entering the store, he was stopped by police who told him he fit the description of a reported shoplifting suspect. 

According to the lawsuit, the police officers stopped Lindsay – the only Black man in the store at the time – even though he didn’t match the description of the suspect they were given. Store employees told police that the shoplifting suspect was a white man in his 30s, wearing a green or gray Carhart coat with a red hoodie underneath. Lindsay is a Black man in his 60s who was wearing a puffy orange coat on the day of the incident.

In the body camera footage, Lindsay can be heard telling the officers he walked in the store after they walked in and that his coat’s color doesn’t match the suspects description. Undeterred, both officers continue to question Lindsay as the possible suspect, accusing him of concealing items in the jacket.

After detaining and questioning Lindsay, the officers learned another officer has the shoplifting suspect in custody. One of the officers and the store’s manager later apologize and say it was all a big mix-up, according to the lawsuit.

“In the same being as so many national instances where African-Americans have been confronted by law enforcement for engaging in their daily lives and doing nothing illegal, this case is about the unsupportable and illegal profiling, detention, accusing, and interrogation of an African-American customer by Police Officers and the complicit actions of the retail store where it occurred,” the lawsuit states.

Lindsay says the “unconstitutional detention” left him feeling humiliated and embarrassed. 

“They walked past a dozen or more shoppers, don’t speak to a single one, and go to him and start bothering him,” attorney Fanon Rucker, who also said Lindsay was the only Black man in the store and “is the last person they should have stopped.”

West Chester police spokesperson, Barb Wilson, declined to comment, saying the township doesn’t speak on pending litigation.

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1 comment

Manny February 22, 2022 at 9:33 am

This will never stop!! All you can do is hit them where it hurts – their pockets!!

Reply

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