Woman sues Walmart for racial discrimination over beauty products in case at Perris store

PERRIS, Calif. -- A woman filed a lawsuit against Walmart claiming race discrimination for having to be escorted to a register to buy African-American beauty products that were locked in a case.

Essie Grundy, who was joined by her husband, daughter and attorney Gloria Allred, talked about the suit during a press conference Friday.

She shot cellphone video of the incident, describing what she found at the Walmart.

"When I walked down the aisle and saw that Walmart had placed all of the African-American hair and skin products under lock-and-key, I had to pause," she said. "I felt that I was being treated as a person who might be a thief, even though I have no criminal history."

Grundy said what was concerning was being escorted to the register.

"I never want my children, or anyone else's children, to experience what I did at Walmart that day," she said.

Allred said this type of policy is not a case at all Walmart stores, but it is at some.

"We think that it perpetuates a racial stereotype that African-American customers should be suspected of being thieves and criminals," she said.

Eyewitness News reached out to Walmart, and representatives said the company does not tolerate discrimination.

"...We're sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security. Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for the heightened measures. While we've yet to review a complaint, we take this situation seriously and look forward to addressing it with the court," the statement said, in part.

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