San Jose

San Jose Woman Accuses Macy's of Racial Profiling in Stop-and-Search Incident

A South Bay woman has accused Macy’s of discrimination and profiling after staff at a San Jose store wrongly accused her of shoplifting.

Conteh Moore, an African-American, said while she was shopping at the Westfield Oakridge mall store on May 8 when a sales associate accused her of stealing a bottle of cologne.

Moore, a San Jose resident, said the store went way too far in trying to confirm its suspicion, and then the remarks of a sales associate convinced her she had been profiled.

"They searched my purse and stripped my sweater off me," Moore said, adding they did those things without her permission.

Moore said after she was found with no cologne, the saleswoman made a comment that made her feel she was stopped and searched because she’s black.

"She said people like you have been stealing from Macy's, stealing stuff," Moore said.

Macy's told NBC Bay Area its customers Bill of Rights explicitly prohibits profiling. The store also released a statement of apology:

"We apologize. The situation is currently under investigation and is being reviewed. Macy's is a company that values acceptance, respect, and integrity and does not tolerate discrimination of any type."

Moore said she was loudly accused in front of dozens of customers.

"I feel so humiliated, and up until now, I am still feeling the pain," said Moore, who added that she waited nearly two hours to talk to a manager about the incident.

Legal analyst Steven Clark said stores are allowed to look inside purses or personal bags if they have probable cause to believe a person stole something. But they can’t make you take off any clothing.

Moore said she plans to pursue legal action against Macy's.

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