What should’ve been a romantic and magical day was besmirched by racial profiling according to one New York couple.
Cathy-Marie Hamlet and her fiance Clyde Jackson journeyed from New York City to the Angry Orchard farm Sunday (July 21) to celebrate her fiance’s 40th birthday. As the group sat at a table outside of the orchard’s gift shop they were approached by a female security guard accusing Jackson of stealing a T-shirt. The guard asked to search his back pocket.
“My boyfriend then emptied all of his pockets, while still trying to keep the ring box hidden from my sight,” Hamlet, 32, said to NBC News. “She then walked away, and my boyfriend and I sat down at the table and he began his proposal speech.”
Midway through Jackson’s speech, the guard returned this time asking for Hamlet. “She came back over to us and said, ‘Now I need to search your purse,'” Hamlet said. “My bag was small and I couldn’t have fit a T-shirt in it, but I emptied the contents of my purse anyway.”
After the second time, Hamlet inquired why they were being targeted. She said the guard denied the search had anything to do with race and left once the search proved fruitless.
However, the searches weren’t over. Shortly after Hamlet accepted Jackson’s proposal the guard returned this time with other guards to search the bags of the couple’s friends.
“She said, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were all part of the same party. I have to check all of your purses and pockets,’” Hamlet said. “At this point, five other security guards came over.”
Hamlet said she was embarrassed especially since one of her white friends made a point of having the guard check her bag, but was denied. The guards then said they would call the police and it was at this time the group decided to leave to avoid confrontation.
Angry Orchard’s senior communications director reached out to the couple to “to try to make things right and prevent something like this from happening again.” However, the damage had already been done.
“I feel confused and conflicted over what to do now and how to move forward, that one of the happiest moments of my life could be partially overshadowed like this,” Hamlet said Monday. “It’s sad that in 2019 we still need to have these conversations.”