Winn-Dixie sued by man who claims he was barred from store after being racially profiled as a thief

By Kyle Barnett | Oct 3, 2013

Gregory P. Di Leo

GRETNA – A man who was accused of stealing a package of chicken from a local grocery store is suing them, along with the Westwego police, for allegedly unlawfully detaining him and racially profiling him.

Jermaine R. Walker filed suit against Winn-Dixie Montgomery LLC, Winn-Dixie Store No. 1431 and the city of Westwego in the 24th Judicial District Court on Aug. 23.

Walker claims that during a visit to the Winn-Dixie Store located at 1070 Westbank Expressway in Westwego he was falsely detained, subjected to excessive force and injured after Westwego police officers working at the store accused him of theft.

The plaintiff alleges that on Aug. 23, 2012, he visited the store where he collected 10 or 11 items and went through the checkout counter when he noticed he had purchased a “buy one get one free” package of chicken.

Walker asserts that after he paid for his items he went back to the meat counter and picked up his free package of chicken and that as he was exiting the store he was stopped by a Winn-Dixie employee who accused him of stealing the chicken.

The plaintiff claims that the employee’s accusation was based on race alone and that he continued to his car where he loaded the items before beginning to drive to another nearby store where he also did some shopping.

Walker alleges that he was stopped by the police as he was leaving the other store and as he retrieved his vehicle registration out of his glove box, one of the police officers forcefully twisted his arm behind his back and pulled him from the vehicle.

The plaintiff asserts that he was handcuffed and advised he was being held under suspicion of shoplifting. Walker claims that after investigating and being told by Winn-Dixie officials that he was innocent the Westwego police officers let him go.

The defendant is accused of assault and battery,  misconduct and violating the plaintiff’s civil rights.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for physical injuries, mental injuries, loss of earnings, medical expenses, drug expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disability, punitive damages and defamation damages.

Walker is represented by attorney Gregory P. Di Leo of New Orleans.

The case has been assigned to Division J Judge Sephen C. Grefer.

Case no. 730-303.

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