Another day, another police officer called on someone without any evidence of wrongdoing. This time it is in North Carolina, where a Staples manager told a police officer who happened to be in the store to check on Sherell Bates as she browsed through the Staples looking for back to school items. The police officer asked her if she was shoplifting. It was so insane that Bates thought the officer was joking at first.
“Initially, I thought he was joking, so my response was, ‘Twins,’” Bates said. “I’m 34 weeks with twins. I’m having a boy and a girl.”
Bates said the officer didn’t believe her the first time, and he asked her again.
“At that point, to avoid him asking me again, I actually lifted my shirt just a little bit, just to expose my belly, so he could see that I’m just a regular pregnant person buying school supplies,” Bates said.
Bates confronted the manager, who then admitted to having the police officer check her out for shoplifting, saying that people had been stealing things lately. That’s not good enough. Staples sent out a statement about the event that reads:
“Yesterday at our Pineville location, while a customer was shopping, a manager mistakenly thought they were possibly shoplifting and asked a police officer that happened to be in the store to talk with the customer.
“After a quick conversation, the issue was resolved, the manager apologized to the customer and refunded their transaction due to the inconvenience. At Staples, we want all customers to feel welcome in our store, and work with our store associates to try and foster an inclusive culture. As an organization, we would like to apologize to the customer if that was not the case in this instance.”
That statement hasn’t been satisfying enough for Bates, who is in a high-risk pregnancy and says she doesn’t need the kind of stress brought on by being harassed for imaginary crimes. She is considering legal action.