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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Security Guards Falsely Accuse Black Couple of Stealing a T-Shirt While They Were Getting Engaged

Dr. Cathy-Marie Hamlet and her fiance

Dr. Cathy-Marie Hamlet and her fiance, Clyde Jackson

Walden, NY — Dr. Cathy-Marie Hamlet says that Angry Orchard, a cidery in Walden, New York, falsely accused her and her fiance of stealing a T-shirt from their store in the middle of his marriage proposal to her. Hamlet called out the white security guards working at the cidery on her Facebook post, and said they racially profiled their group because they were “the only Black people at [the] establishment.”

Hamlet was celebrating the 40th birthday of his boyfriend, Clyde Jackson, who surprised her with a marriage proposal. What could have been a memorable moment was ruined when security staff from the Angry Orchard approached them and accused Jackson of stealing.

Hamlet said in her Facebook post that a female security guard first approached them while Jackson was preparing to propose to her. The security guard accused him of stealing a T-shirt and asked to check his back pocket. When she found nothing, she walked away.

A few minutes later while Jackson was already saying his proposal speech, Hamlet said “the same young lady from security walked back towards [us] and says to me. ‘I’m sorry, I need to check your bag. I was told that he gave it to you, and you put it in your bag.’ I emptied my entire bag in front of her, and since this was the second time she had walked over, I said, ‘I know you’re just doing your job, but I can’t help but wonder if this is because we’re Black. We were the only Black people here at your establishment.'”

The security guard denied that the check was due to race and left. The proposal continued and she said yes, causing bystanders to cheer and their friends to gather and congratulate them.

That was when the female security guard returned for the third time to search the entire group allegedly telling them, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you all were a part of the same party. I have to check all of your purses and pockets.”

Several other security guards walked over and search their the couple and their 6 friends.

“Of course, my friends told them none of us stole a T-shirt from their establishment, at which point they started getting aggressive and saying that not only them but also patrons saw my boyfriend steal the shirt and transfer it to me to put in my bag! Another woman in security yelled to one of the male security, ‘Call the police! I saw you steal it.'”

Hamlet asked the guards if they had security cameras — which they did — and told them to watch the tape to prove that they did not steal anything. When the security guards took photos and videos of them and their license plate number, their group just decided to leave the place.

Hamlet, who is a doctor, wrote in her Facebook post, which went viral, that she and her friends were left in tears for the humiliation they suffered on what was supposed to be one of the best days of her life.

Meanwhile, Angry Orchard issued a statement apologizing for what happened. They admitted that they have mishandled the situation and already removed those involved in the incident.

“We recognize that we badly mishandled this situation and our team’s response was inexcusable. As of yesterday, we have replaced the security team members working that day and the manager who was on duty. We are initiating additional, mandatory training on security awareness and unconscious bias for everyone on staff to prevent something like this from happening in the future. We’re deeply sorry that our guests were mistreated. This event does not reflect our company values of respect for all and creating a welcoming environment for our guests, and while we wish it didn’t occur at all, we are treating this moment as a valuable learning experience for our staff.”