Parents who were falsely accused of stealing a basketball they bought for their toddler at the Nike store in Santa Monica
On Thursday, July 9, TaMiya Dickerson and Joel Stallworth officially announced their civil rights suit against the Nike company over a racial profiling dispute in 2019.
Lawyers, Dan Stormer and David Washington Hadsell, Stormer, Renick & Dai held a zoom press conference for the couple, who was wrongly accused of shoplifting.
In July 2019, Dickerson and Stallworth dropped in at the Nike store in Santa Monica. Stallworth noted that his 1-year-old son was interested in a child-sized basketball in which he decided to buy for his son. Stallworth said his son exclaimed, "Ball! … Ball! "
The child's mother, TaMiya Dickerson, said: “Being in this store and seeing him play with this ball was really a special moment, and we were robbed of it … which hurts me the most because we can't get it back. ”
The couple's lawyer, Dan Stormer, said: “They bought a basketball, the first basketball for their young son. For many of us, that wouldn't mean anything, but for Joel and TaMiya, whose family history is an extraordinary homage to overcoming discrimination and adversity through athletics, this was a great personal moment that resonated with them. "
The couple left the shop with the basketball and a receipt to confirm the purchase. Moments later, former Nike store manager Wendy Magee accused Stallworth of stealing the recently purchased basketball.
Stallworth said, "When I got out of the store, I heard a tumult behind me … and (Magee) spat out accusations." Dickerson also said, "I see this woman approaching him … this white woman who says, 'Give me the ball back! You took this ball! ", I've heard."
Dickerson also recorded the incident on her smartphone. The footage shows Magee with two SMPD officers who confront the couple about shoplifting. The video went viral when released and received the attention of local news outlets in Los Angeles. Magee was released soon after the incident.
David Washington is the second representative on the Stallworth and Dickerson team of lawyers. Washington said: "Magee's outrageous and racist behavior did not matter in Nike's decision to quit. Nothing could give a clearer signal to Nike's black customers and employees that Nike is not concerned with their safety and wellbeing. Joel and TaMiya are still here. They're not dead. So, according to Nike, no harm, no foul. "
“Nike created a totally hypocritical advertising campaign that is said to support Black Lives Matter. In reality, their all-white paid leadership has implemented and supported a corporate policy that allows African-American customers to be treated as if they were all criminals, every step of which must be scrutinized as soon as they enter a Nike store, ”said Dan Stormer, an accomplished civil rights lawyer. “My customers intend to hold Nike responsible for the damage caused by this misconduct and hypocrisy on the part of the company. They were completely innocent and were eventually arrested by the police. Nike built a smooth machine to take black and brown money and labor while repaying them in humiliation and exploitation. It is time to change the way the machine works. "
Nike released a public statement saying, “We take the recent situation in our Santa Monica store very seriously and are currently investigating the facts. We have approached the family to deeply apologize and we will continue to work with our teams to ensure that we meet our customer experience expectations. "
According to their case (Case 2: 20-cv-05985; Joel Stallworth, TaMiya Dickerson and Minor Plaintiff SS by and through his Guardian ad Litem; compared to Nike Retail Services, Inc., Wendy Magee and DOES 1-10) who Various claims for damages include illegal detention and wrong arrest and detention, deprivation of equality under the law, Cal. Civ. Code & 51.7 – Ralph Act, Cal. Civ. Code & 51.5 – Balance Act, Assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, Cal. Civil Code & 46 – Defamation, Negligent Surveillance and Retention, 42 U.S.C. & 1985 deprivation of rights and privileges.