Maria Paez Said She Was Wrongly Accused, Racially Profiled

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Venezuelan tourist was acquitted Monday of shoplifting at Macy’s Herald Square flagship store, in one of several cases of shoppers saying they were wrongly accused of stealing at major New York City retailers.

Maria Paez was cleared by a judge Monday, according to attorney Daniel Hochheiser.

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Court records were not immediately available Monday evening. Manhattan District Attorney’s office representatives had no immediate information.

Paez said she was stopped after putting items in a Macy’s bag to carry them around the flagship store Sept. 12. She said she believed she was targeted because she spoke Spanish and had words with an impolite fitting-room attendant.

Paez claimed she was racially profiled, falsely arrested, imprisoned and forcefully separated from her child when she was taken to the lockup at the store.

She claimed she was not allowed to call her 12-year-old son, who was shopping on another floor in the store, throughout the entire ordeal. She was charged with petite larceny, however, claims she never walked out of the store with the clothes.

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Macy’s has no immediate comment.

Several black shoppers also alleged last fall that they were racially profiled at Macy’s and other stores.

The City Council later held a hearing on the racial profiling allegations. The hearing included written statements from both Macy’s and Barneys denying the allegations, though neither store sent a representative to the hearing.

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