HOUSTON (CN) – Dillard’s department stores and the City of Houston target non-white customers for illegal and baseless arrests, claims a black man who was arrested and jailed for 21 hours by off-duty policemen working as Dillard’s security guards. The cops claimed, without cause, that a bottle of Crystal Light he threw into the trash contained codeine, Kevin Wilson claims in Federal Court.
The white guards handcuffed Wilson inside the store and took him to a back room and then to jail, where he was held for 21 hours before lab results proved his innocence, Wilson says.
He claims that since 1972 Dillard’s has had a pattern of hiring off-duty cops for security, and targeting non-white customers for false accusations of drug possession and disorderly conduct.
Wilson says he threw the bottle of Crystal Light into a trash can near the store entrance at the Houston Galleria Mall, then proceeded into the children’s section of with his wife to buy presents for their two kids. Then the cops arrested him on the baseless and irrational claim that the bottle he had thrown away contained codeine. While under arrest and awaiting transport to jail, Wilson says, he was subjected to offensive, racist jokes.
He demands punitive damages for false imprisonment, distress and negligence. He is represented by Troy Pradia. See complaint.