Rachid Bakhari is suing Macy's flagship store in New York City for $1 million after allegedly being handcuffed by Macy's security, who locked him in a "jail" inside the store.
Bakhari claims the incident happened two days after last year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade when he was trying to return a belt that didn't fit.
He had removed the price tags on the belt at home, so a Macy's clerk told him to get a belt with sales tags from the sales rack and bring it to the cashier counter to help facilitate his return, noted Reuters.
According to Bakhari, he was handcuffed by Macy's security men who placed him in the jail for three hours, but did not charge him with a crime.
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His lawsuit states, "Within its Herald Square store, Macy's maintains a jail cell, not well advertised in the promotions for its Thanksgiving Day parade."
Bakhari is suing Macy's for "wounded feelings, mental suffering, humiliation, degradation and disgrace."
According to The New York Times, the private jail cells have existed since 2003:
Steps from the pantyhose section of Macy's Manhattan store sits a cool, halogen-lighted room containing two chain-link holding cells. People, some of them minors, are led to this room every day, where they are body-searched, photographed and then handcuffed to a long steel bench.
…This private jail, and the policing system that governs it, is replicated to varying degrees in other department stores across the nation with a twofold purpose: to stop shoplifting and to recoup some of the billions of dollars lost to theft every year.