Parents wrongly accused of shoplifting a basketball they purchased for their toddler at the Nike store in Santa Monica
On Thursday, July 9, TaMiya Dickerson and Joel Stallworth officially announced their civil rights lawsuit against the Nike corporation over a racial profiling dispute in 2019.
Attorneys, Dan Stormer and David Washington of Hadsell, Stormer, Renick & Dai held a zoom press conference for the couple who were falsely accused of shoplifting.
In July of 2019, Dickerson and Stallworth stopped by the Nike store in Santa Monica. Stallworth noticed his 1-year-old son gravitate towards a child-sized basketball, in which he decided to purchase for his son. Stallworth said his son exclaimed, “Ball! … Ball!”
The child’s mother, TaMiya Dickerson, claimed that “Being in that store and seeing him play with that ball was really a special moment, and it was robbed from us … which hurts me the most because it’s not something that we can’t get back.”
The couple’s attorney, Dan Stormer claimed, “They were purchasing a basketball, the first basketball for their young son. For many of us that would mean nothing, but for Joel and TaMiya whose family histories are exceptional tributes to overcoming discrimination and adversity through athletics, this was a huge personal moment that resonated with them.”
The couple left the store with the basketball and a receipt to confirm their purchase. Moments later, former Nike Store Manager Wendy Magee, accused Stallworth of stealing the basketball he recently purchased.
Stallworth said, “As I got out of the store, I heard a commotion behind me … and [Magee] was spewing out accusations.” Dickerson also claimed, “I see this woman lunging towards him … this White woman telling him, ‘Give me that ball back! You took that ball!’ that’s what I heard.”
Dickerson recorded the incident on her smartphone as well. The footage shows Magee with two SMPD officers confronting the couple for shoplifting. The video has gone viral upon release, receiving the attention of local news stations in Los Angeles. Magee was soon fired after the incident.
David Washington is second representative of Stallworth and Dickerson’s team of attorneys. Washington claimed, “Magee’s egregious and racist behavior played no role in Nike’s decision to terminate her. Nothing could provide a clearer sign to Nike’s Black customers and employees that Nike does not care about their safety and well-being. Joel and TaMiya are still here. They’re not dead; so, according to Nike, no harm, no foul.”
“Nike has created a totally hypocritical ad campaign supposedly supporting Black Lives Matter. In reality, their completely White paid leadership has implemented and supported a corporate policy that allows African American customers to be treated as if they are all criminals whose every move must be closely scrutinized once they enter a Nike store,” said Dan Stormer, an accomplished civil rights attorney. “My clients intend to hold Nike responsible for the harms caused by this corporate malfeasance and hypocrisy. They were completely innocent, yet, ended up being detained by the police. Nike built a frictionless machine to take money and labor from Black and Brown people while simultaneously paying them back in humiliation and exploitation. It’s time to change the way that machine operates.”
Nike released a public statement that said, “We are taking the recent situation at our Santa Monica store very seriously, and we are currently investigating the facts. We have reached out to the family to express our deepest apologies, and we will continue to work with our teams to ensure we deliver on our expectations for consumer experiences.”
According to their case (Case—2:20-cv-05985; Joel Stallworth, TaMiya Dickerson, and Minor Plaintiff S.S., by and through his Guardian ad Litem; versus, Nike Retail Services, Inc., Wendy Magee, and DOES 1-10), the various complaint for damages are Unlawful Detention and False Arrest and Imprisonment, Deprivation of Equal Rights Under The Law, Cal. Civ. Code & 51.7 – Ralph Act, Cal. Civ. Code & 51.5 – Unruh Act, Assault, Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress, Cal. Civil Code & 46 – Slander, Negligent Supervision and Retention, 42 U.S.C. & 1985 Deprivation of Rights and Privileges.