Jonathan Hart

Calls for Boutique Boycott After Black Attorney and Daughter Falsely Accused of Theft, Handcuffed

Last week, the cops were called on three Black teens falsely accused of shoplifting at a Nordstrom Rack in St. Louis, Mo. And now there are calls for a boycott of a vintage boutique in gentrified Brooklyn, N.Y., where a Black attorney and her daughter were racially profiled.

Chanting “Racial profiling has got to go!” and “White lies cost Black lives!” in front of Amarcord in Williamsburg on Friday night, more than 50 protesters promised a boycott of the shop in support of Nancy Bedard and her 19-year-old daughter, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

After the mother and daughter had tried on a few pieces of clothing in the store on May 4, a white clerk accused them of stealing a dress. The clerk then called the police. When the authorities arrived at the scene, they detained Bedard and her daughter in handcuffs.

“The two women were detained for a brief period of time,” the NYPD said in a statement. “During that investigation, no (stolen) property was found and the store employee became uncertain that the two individuals removed any property.”

Nancy Bedard

“My daughter and I were hysterically crying,” Bedard told the NY Daily News. “My daughter, my baby, had to go through this and had to deal with all these lies and harm to her physical body, as well as to her emotional state.”

Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey of Brooklyn North has launched an internal investigation by the borough’s investigations unit, according to an NYPD spokesperson. The lieutenant involved will be transferred until an investigation is complete.

Bedard, an attorney with Brooklyn Legal Services Corp. B, said she and her daughter were racially profiled. Bedard also said the employee verbally attacked them after they left the store, following them down Bedford Avenue.

In a Facebook post her husband, Philip Sturges, who is white, encouraged a boycott of Amarcord:

“A white female employee of Amarcord Vintage Fashion falsely accused my Black wife, who is an attorney, of shoplifting, had the police chase her and our teenage daughter down in a cop car and violently handcuff both of them before searching her bag and determining she was innocent. This was pure RACIAL PROFILING by the Amarcord employee. BOYCOTT!!!!!”

The boutique’s public statement about the incident reads, in part, “This is not the way Amarcord does business, and this does not reflect the ethos of our company as a whole or us as people.”

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