A black couple from NYC had their engagement ruined after a group of white security guards interrupted their special moment three times to search for items they were accused of stealing.
In a Facebook post, Cathy-Marie Hamlet says she, her fiancé Clyde Jackson, and six of their friends traveled upstate to the Angry Orchard farm in Walden, New York, for what was supposed to be “one of the best days of my life.” However, their special day soon turned sour thanks to a case of racial profiling.
According to Hamlet, she and Jackson were sitting at a table outside the orchard’s gift shop Sunday when a white female security guard accused them of stealing a T-shirt and asked Jackson to empty his back pockets.
“My boyfriend walked me out to an empty table on the lawn, and before we could sit down, a young lady from security approached us and said to him, “I’m sorry sir, but I have to check you back pocket. I was told that you stole a T-shirt from from the gift store,’ ” Hamlet, 32, recalled.
Hamlet, who’d driven up from Manhattan, said her boyfriend complied, all “while still trying to keep the ring box hidden from my sight.”
After searching Jackson and finding no stolen items, the security worker eventually walked off. But she returned just a few moments later to search Hamlet’s tiny purse.
“My boyfriend and I sat down at the table, [and] he began his proposal speech,” she continued. “MID PROPOSAL, the same young woman from security walks back towards and says to me, “I am sorry, I need to check your bag. I was told that he gave it to you, and you put it in your bag. ‘ ”
Hamlet emptied the contents of her tiny purse for the security’s clearance.
“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’re the only Black people at your establishment.’ ”
The security guard denied racial profiling and left after her search for the T-shirt turned up empty yet again. However, after Jackson successfully popped the question and got the response he hoped for, the couple’s six friends came to cheer and celebrate the special occasion. But that’s when the security returned for a third time to search the entire group.
“Then surprise, surprise…the same young lady from security walks over to the group of us and says, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you all were a part of the same party. I’ll have to check all your purses and pockets,’ ” she wrote. “So at this point, the rest of security walks over and there’s 6 of them approaching us.”
Hamlet told NBC News she felt completed humiliated after one of her white friends offered to have security search her purse, to which they refused. She says the guards became “aggressive” and claimed to have witnessed her boyfriend steal the T-shirt and stuff it in her bag.
Hamlet said one of the security guards instructed the other to “call the police,”, which prompted the group of friends to leave.
“It started to get confrontational and I wasn’t interested in waiting around for the police because we didn’t know what would happen,” she told the outlet.
Before leaving, the group asked security to check the surveillance tapes to prove their innocence, but Hamlet says the guards began taking pictures and filming the group and even took a photo of their license plate.
“I have never been so humiliated in my life,” she said, recalling how security followed the group out into the parking lot. “As a doctor, I have no reason to steal a $28 T-shirt when I could afford to buy ALL of the T-shirts in their gift shop!”
Hamlet called out the establishment saying she will never return again.
“If you don’t want Black People buying your product or frequenting your establishment, then maybe put a sign on the door so that we know we are not welcome. I love hard cider, but Angry Orchard will never touch these lips again.”
A rep for the company has since attempted to do some damage control on the Angry Orchard’s behalf.
Taylor Roy, a senior communications specialist at Boston Beer Company, which owns Angry Orchards, told NBC that the company has since reached out to the couple in an effort “to try to make things right and prevent something like this from happening again.”
Ray added that the incident was based on what security thought was a “credible claim,” but the situation was “mishandled” and now the company will provide additional training for its staff.
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