A black doctor’s romantic marriage proposal to his girlfriend was ruined after he was accused of stealing from a brewery and he was searched no less than three times by a security guard.
Clyde Jackson had thoughtfully organised to propose to girlfriend Cathy-Marie Hamlet when he was allegedly interrupted moments before he was to pop the big question, by a white security guard at Angry Orchard Brewery in Walden, New York.
Hamlet took to Facebook in a post that has since been shared thousands of times, where she revealed what went down.
A security guard approached the black couple just as Jackson was preparing to propose, asking to check his back pocket because she “was told that [Jackson] stole a T-shirt from the gift store".
My boyfriend walked me out to an empty table on the lawn, and before we could sit down, a young lady from security approached us and said to him, “I’m sorry sir, but I have to check you back pocket. I was told that you stole a T-shirt from from the gift store.” My boyfriend then emptied all of his pockets, while still trying to keep the ring box hidden from my sight.
After the security guard walked away, Jackson sat down at the table, away from their party of eight, and launched into his proposal speech.
It was at this point, “mid proposal,” the security guard came back and said to them:
"I’m sorry, I need to check your bag. I was told that he gave it to you, and you put it in your bag.” Mind you, my bag isn’t even large enough to fit a T-shirt. I emptied my entire bag in front of her, and since this was the SECOND time she had walked over, I said, “I know you’re just doing your job, but I can’t help but wonder if this is because we’re Black. We’re the only Black people here at your establishment."
The couple accused the brewery of racially profiling them but the security guard denied that the check was because the couple and their group were the “only black people” at the brewery, and once more left.
The boyfriend finally managed to get the proposal out, Hamilton said yes and their group erupted in cheer.
But that’s not the end of it.
Then surprise, surprise...the same young lady from security walks over to the group of us and says, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you all were a part of the same party. I have to check all of your purses and pockets.”
So at this point, the rest of security walks over and there’s 6 of them approaching us.
Of course my friends told them none of us stole a T-shirt from their establishment, at which point they started getting aggressive and saying that not only them, but also patrons saw my boyfriend steal the shirt and/or transfer it to me to put in my bag!!
Another woman in security yelled to one of the male security, “Call the police! I saw you steal it.” I asked them, “Do you have security cameras here?”
And they said yes. So I said, “Well then you need to go and roll back your tape and see that nobody here stole anything from you guys.”
Security started taking our pictures, recording video, and took a picture of my license plate number.
We as a group decided to leave rather than be attacked by the multiple security guards of Angry Orchard. I have never been so humiliated in my life, myself and some of my friends left Angry Orchard in tears.
On what was supposed to be one of the best days of my life, I was chased out of Angry Orchard by security who followed us all the way to the parking lot.
I’m sorry, and not to sound pretentious, but as a doctor, I have no reason to steal a $28 T-shirt when I could afford to buy ALL of the T-shirts in their gift shop.
In a statement to Peoplemagazine, Angry Orchard apologised.
We reached out and spoke directly with the guest involved to express our apology and offer to make it right.
Our security team approached a group of guests based on what they thought was credible information at the time.
We believe that we mishandled the situation and we’re now working on additional training for our team to prevent something like this from happening in the future.
We’re deeply sorry.
The situation didn’t reflect our values of respect and creating a welcoming environment for our guests.