October 8, 2023
2 Black Shoppers Hit Dollar General With Lawsuit Alleging Racial Discrimination
Two Black female customers at a Dollar General in South Charleston, West Virginia, are suing the store for racial discrimination. Kitrena Mitchell and Alexandria M. Shoffner filed separately against the business and the store’s manager on Sept. 13.
The lawsuit describes a trip to the store in August 2022 as the cause of the legal action. Both plaintiffs entered the place of business, and the two potential patrons left shortly after without making a purchase after noticing the “shocked” look on the manager’s face at their entrance. The manager was identified as a white woman named Joyce Roberts, the West Virginia Record reported.
However, the anti-theft detectors released an alarm upon leaving despite the women not purchasing or taking anything from the establishment. The two women state that the manager racially profiled them and manually triggered the sound. As they returned to ensure they did not steal any products, the manager insisted that they be searched, called the police, and accused the women of theft. After further investigation of their belongings by law enforcement, in which nothing was found, Mitchell and Shoffner were allowed to leave the store, according to the court documents.
Although no criminal charges were filed against them, the officer told the duo that their identification was needed after speaking with Roberts, as the manager wanted to ban them from all Dollar General locations. Due to this extreme reaction, the two women believe their discriminatory experience violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act.
As detailed by the lawsuit, plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages. Among what they claim to be a loss of dignity, embarrassment, humiliation, and emotional distress, they also proclaimed that the defendant willfully and intentionally meant to discriminate against them based on race.
The lawsuit comes after the fatal, racially charged shooting in August at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida. In response to that incident, the business donated $2.5 million to help the city heal in its aftermath, stating that the racist killings were a “hate-driven loss of life.”
“The entire DG family continues to mourn the senseless, hate-driven loss of life that took place last weekend,” said Jeff Owen, Dollar General’s CEO, in the statement. “Our focus continues to be on supporting the victims’ families, our employees, and their loved ones, alongside how we can best support and stand with the greater Jacksonville community. The actions we are taking are in an effort to begin to heal together.”
However, the company has yet to make a statement condemning the alleged racist action of its employees in South Charleston.