A 22-year-old black man wearing a hooded sweatshirt was leaving Macy's in Aventura Mall when five Macy's security guards tackled him to the floor and later stripped him down to his underwear.
The problem was? He didn't have anything on him.
Duddeley Petigny, who had an afro and was scruffy, filed a state lawsuit last week alleging that on the afternoon of December 11, he was wrongfully accused of shoplifting -- following an embarrassing arrest and frisk in front of other mall patrons.
Petigny's lawsuit alleges discrimination on the basis of race as well as false imprisonment.
According to a police report filed with Aventura police, Petigny had gone into one of the store's fitting rooms with a Skully sweatshirt that cost $56, but when security had inspected the room after he'd left, they couldn't find it.
So when Petigny started to leave, one of the security guards, Traci Collins, ordered him to "come back inside with them."
"I'm not going anywhere with you," Petigny told the security guards, who asked him if he'd stolen anything.
"I don't have shit on me, man," Petigny replied, according to Aventura police officer Christian Peralia, who'd been on the scene.
The security officers then frisked Petigny, turned him around, and when Petigny began to resist, they tackled him to the ground, and hauled him inside.
There, Petigny "was stripped to his underwear," he says in the lawsuit, so the guards could search him more thoroughly.
Afterward, the security allowed Petigny to leave "with a warning," the police report said.
Petigny says the incident has inflicted upon him pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of the capacity to enjoy life, loss of sense of self-efficacy, and economic damages. Petigny is seeking compensation, though his suit didn't specify how much.
Additional lessons learned? Florida really hates hooded sweatshirts.
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