Nancy Bedard (pictured), and her teen daughter, were handcuffed and searched by police in New York last week after a white store clerk accused them of shoplifting. Screenshot: Facebook Another day, another activity added to the list of things black people can’t do while being black. A black New York lawyer and her daughter were accused of shoplifting from a vintage store in heavily gentrified Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The duo were not only accused of stealing but they were handcuffed searched by police, who would later let them go after realizing that they’d not done anything wrong ... well, except for being black in a gentrified neighborhood and shopping at a gentrified thrift shop.
It all went down last Friday when Nancy Bedard, an attorney with Brooklyn Legal Services, and her 19-year-old daughter trekked into Amacord Vintage Fashion looking for some seventies fashion finds. Bedard grabbed a bathing suit and three dresses, one black with long sleeves, a lavender frock and a purple dress and asked to try on the four items. She tried on the items, asked about the price of one of the dresses then laid them on an ottoman and went to leave the store. That is when Bedard claims that a clerk began asking her about a fifth item. “I remember counting on my fingers. One, two, three, four.
There is no missing item,” the lawyer told the Daily News. Bedard tried to leave the store when the clerk reportedly followed her and her daughter outside. “She told me to come back in the store and I wouldn’t,” she said. “I know my rights and I didn’t.” The clerk warned both women that the store had surveillance cameras that would have captured any theft. “Great,” Bedard said she told the clerk. “You should go watch it.” Bedard claims that the woman then followed her and her daughter, who was home from college, and called the cops. Bedard also claims that the woman berated her and her daughter while waiting for the police to arrive.
“They knew you were going to shoplift the minute you walked in the door,” the woman reportedly told Bedard and her daughter. “That’s why they called me.” “It was very embarrassing,” Bedard told the Daily News. “People were staring at me, not her, but she was the one that was screaming.” The police show up, handcuff Bedard and her daughter, and search their belongings, find nothing from the vintage store. They were then uncuffed. “My daughter and I were hysterically crying,” Bedard told the Daily News. “My daughter, my baby, I was so upset that she had to go through this to her physical self.” The two were taken to a local hospital where they say police continued to shadow them.
Police didn’t give her driver’s license back until 11 p.m. that night. The owners of Amarcord, Patti Bordoni and Marco Liotta, claim the event went down differently, but that their employees did nothing wrong. “Basically, there was some furtive behavior on the part of the patrons, an employee asked about an item of clothing and that question alone prompted the patron to pull the race card,” Daniel Kron, the attorney for the store owners, told the Daily News.
“At no time was the word ‘shoplifting’ used except by the patron,” he said. According to Kron, Bedard said, “’Cause I’m black you think I’m stealing?” The lawyer said she started raising her voice, “She was causing a scene,” he said. “The police were called when she was in the store when we didn’t know if she would leave,” the Daily News reports. Kron claims that his clients did nothing wrong, or as he puts it, nothing that was “racially motivated” and that the question about the phantom garment was a “normal question for any retail business.” Around 60 people showed up to protest outside the store which shut down for a few days because of the negative press covfefe.