LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Perris mother is taking legal action over what she claims is discrimination against African-Americans by Walmart over their policy of locking up certain products.
Essie Grundy told reporters at a news conference Friday she has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the retail giant after asking for assistance to buy a 49-cent comb, which was among several products secured in a glass casing at the Perris store.
“I originally got the product from the Walmart in Riverside…and it was such a good product, I wanted to introduce it to my older children,” said Grundy. “They didn’t have anymore at the original Walmart that I got it from, so I went to my neighborhood one, and that’s when I noticed all of the African-American products was locked up under lock and key.”
According to Grundy, she was “shocked” by the policy and asked a store manager to have it changed, but was refused.
Similar complaints have been made in the past by groups such as Making Change At Walmart, which calls the policy a “discriminatory practice”.
Several videos posted to social media have taken aim at similar policies in other retail stores.
In addition to an apology, Grundy’s attorney Gloria Allred said they’re hoping to have a court injunction to halt Walmart’s practice of locking up products.
Walmart has previously responded to such claims – which they say are “false and offensive” – by pointing out some products are more frequently targeted by shoplifters, including baby formula and razors.
In a statement, Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson said while the company does not discriminate, it will review
He noted that some products are locked or kept under tighter security, suggesting they
are more at risk of theft.
“We’re sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security,” he said.
“Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting
the need for heightened measures.
“While we’ve yet to review a complaint, we take this situation seriously and look forward to addressing it with the court.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)