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Payment, apology for store incident

Payment, apology for store incident

Two Muslim women detained after being accused of stealing merchandise have received an apology and a payment from a clothing store in a Meriden mall.

May Department Stores Co., the parent of the Lord & Taylor outlet in the Westfield Shoppingtown mall, agreed to apologize and offer a cash settlement. “Settlements of $3,700 were reached with two customers who claimed they were falsely arrested and accused of shoplifting,” May Co. officials said in a prepared statement.

The women filed a discrimination complaint after they were detained, but never charged with a crime in the September 2000 incident.

The two shoppers, who were dressed in traditional Islamic garb, were stopped as they left a fitting room, according to Hodan Hassan, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which represents
the women.

A store security guard checked their merchandise and sales receipts and determined they had taken nothing.

However, another guard insisted they were guilty of shoplifting and tried to remove the head coverings that the Islamic faith requires of all women believers, said Hassan.

“This happened in front of many people and it was very embarrassing for the two women,” Hassan said.

Meriden police officers arrived a short time later and the women were allowed to go. No charges were filed, Hassan added.


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