Walmart to pay Portland man $4 million in damages after discrimination lawsuit

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 7:05 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A Multnomah County jury decided Friday that a Portland man should be awarded millions after filing a civil lawsuit against Walmart.

Michael Mangum claimed an asset protection employee racially profiled him in March 2020 and called deputies on him for no reason other than wanting him to leave the store.

After the verdict, Walmart has been ordered pay $4 million in damages to Mangum.

Mangum says in March 2020, he was visiting the Walmart in Wood Village to buy a light bulb, and an employee at the store suddenly confronted him and told him to leave, then called Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputies.

According to court documents, the Walmart employee was identified as Joe Williams. The documents also revealed that MCSO deputies knew that Williams had a history of frequent 911 calls, often making embellishing accusations about people in his Walmart location. Mangum and his lawyer, Greg Kafoury, said that Williams remained on the job after the incident in March 2020, but no longer works for Walmart as of now. Mangum says Williams keeping his job was hurtful.

“No suspension, no investigation, that’s kind of a slap in my face for one,” said Mangum. “Because I’m sure he’s done this to a lot of people.”

Mangum works for Home Forward, an affordable housing and youth outreach nonprofit. Mangum says he hopes his experience can be a teachable moment for the youth he serves.

“I hope they don’t focus on the money,” said Mangum. “That’s not my message. My message is tell the truth, stand up for yourself, know your rights, and I just try to teach them to advocate.”

Even though it may be two years later, Mangum says experiencing racial profiling in such a public place like Walmart has re-shaped his perspective when working with at-risk youth.

“It gives me a chance to really, really feel where they’re coming from,” said Mangum.

FOX 12 reached out to Walmart for comment on the verdict and a spokesperson sent back a statement which reads:

“We do not tolerate discrimination. We believe the verdict is excessive and is not supported by the evidence. Mr. Mangum was never stopped by Walmart’s Asset Protection.  He interfered with our associates as they were surveilling and then stopped confirmed shoplifters, and then refused to leave despite being asked to repeatedly by our staff and Multnomah County deputies. We are reviewing our options including post-trial motions.”