COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — A Victoria’s Secret employee is off the job after a customer said she was racially profiled and handcuffed while shopping.
It happened Monday at the Carriage Crossing mall in Collierville.
Jovita Jones Cage says she’d bought a bra from Victoria’s Secret, but the employee forgot to take the sensor off.
So she took it back with the receipt on Monday, explaining what happened.
“She got the receipts out and was able to find the right one and remove the sensor. I told her she could keep the bag there, because I was going to go shopping around the store,” Cage said.
As she was on her way to try the clothes on, she noticed a Collierville Police officer in the store.
“The police officer walked straight up to me and slapped handcuffs on me,” she said.
Cage says she was shocked and confused.
After asking what’s going on, she says the officer told her “to put both of my hands behind my back, because I was under arrest for shoplifting.”
Cage says the store manager called it in without even speaking to her.
“I think it was for the simple fact that I was black,” she said.
As a Howard University graduate and tutor for children, Cage says she was mortified.
“I don’t know if one of the parents of the kids I tutor could’ve been there. I don’t know if one of my old professors could’ve been in there.”
She says after aggressively searching her bag and realizing she wasn’t shoplifting, the officer walked her out and told her she was banned from the store.
“At this point, I’m traumatized and crying.”
Cage made a complaint with the corporate office and said the representative she spoke with apologized and offered her a $100 gift card, which she rejected.
The company released the following statement:
“We are sincerely sorry for the experience Ms. Jones Cage had in our store. Bottom line, we made a mistake, and we do not tolerate this behavior. Our head of stores has been trying to reach Ms. Jones Cage to personally apologize for her experience. Victoria’s Secret is adamant that all customers be treated with dignity and respect. We have investigated the matter, and the associate involved is no longer employed with our brand. In addition, we are meeting with every associate in the store to reinforce our values and policies. We are committed to delivering an excellent shopping experience to every customer, every time … we have work to do – and we are dedicated to this mission.”
Cage said she also made a complaint to the NAACP about the store and police department.
“They’re going to have to do more. I want justice not only for me, but for people everywhere. I hope after this, other victims of racial profiling will come forward,” Cage said.
“It’s solidarity. It’s not just about African Americans. It’s about everyone being treated fairly.”
WREG has requested the report along with the officer’s personnel file for this case.