Hadsell Stormer Renick & Dai LLP lawyers Dan Stormer and David Washington filed the lawsuit on July 4 with the Los Angeles Federal Court on behalf of clients Joel Stallworth, TaMiya Dickerson and their young son. The suit names the Nike Corporation and former Nike store manager Wendy Magee.
The racial profile incident occurred in July 2019. The couple had just bought a basketball for their 18-month-old son at the Nike store on Santa Monica Promenade. When they left the store, manager Magee approached them, loudly and publicly insisting that they stole the ball.
Joel said, "When I got out of the store, I heard a tumult behind me … and (Magee) spat out accusations."
TaMiya confirmed: "I see this woman approaching him … this white woman says to him: 'Give me the ball back! You took this ball! ", I've heard." TaMiya recorded the incident on her cell phone, where Magee and the Santa Monica police confront the couple and claim they have been shoplifting while explaining that they have a receipt for the ball.
Dan Stormer said: “They bought a basketball, the first basketball for their little 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. "
TaMiya said, "Being in this shop and seeing him play with this ball was really a special moment and we were robbed … which hurts me the most because we can't get it back."
Although manager Magee had shown racist behavior in the past – company profile and derogatory color colleague complaints were filed against her – Nike released her for leaving the shop to investigate stolen property, which is a technical violation.
Joel pointed out that Magee's decision to call the police was not only embarrassing (the police put him down in front of his son), but also put him and his family at risk in the face of the violent and sometimes fatal treatment of blacks by law enforcement. He said, "Nike ignored complaints about Wendy Magee to the point where her actions could easily have caused my death. What is the value of a life? I hope it's more than a $ 12 basketball. "
For both Joel and TaMiya, Nike was "one of the good guys", a fan of the black athletes and the Black Lives Matter. In fact, Joel, an Olympic gold medal athlete, wore Nike shoes in the circuit competition. The couple has since changed their melody. The complaint states: "Dickerson describes the feeling of betrayal as a witness to a close family member who sees her as a serial abuser."
Dan Stormer said: “Nike has 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 needs to be scrutinized as soon as they enter a Nike store. "
David Washington said: “Nike built a smooth machine to take money and labor from the black and brown while repaying them in humiliation and exploitation. It is time to change the way the machine works. My customers intend to blame Nike for the damage caused by this misconduct and hypocrisy on the part of the company. They were completely innocent and yet the police arrested them. "
The complaint states that "Nike is fully responsible for the terrible and deeply embarrassing ordeal that this family has endured" and demands compensation for illegal detention, wrongful arrest, assault, inflicting emotional stress and other harm. It says that "Nike's clever marketing, designed to benefit Black America's desire for equal treatment, can only go so far as to cover up the reality that is the problematic culture of Nike."The trauma that Nike (she) brought with her and the total lack of remorse at Nike make it clear that Nike's image is nothing more than a marketing trick to access the wealth of the black community. "
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