Black Couple’s Marriage Proposal Party Interrupted By White Security Guards Accusing Them Of Theft
A black couple’s marriage proposal party was repeatedly interrupted by some white security guards who reportedly accused them of theft at a gift shop at the Angry Orchard farm in Walden, New York on July 21.
Cathy-Marie Hamlet told NBC News that she and her fiancé Clyde Jackson were sitting at a table outside the orchard’s gift shop when a female security guard accused Jackson of stealing a T-shirt and 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. She then walked away, and my boyfriend and I sat down at the table and he began his proposal speech.
Hamlet said the security guard interrupted the proposal speech again:
She came back over to us and said, “Now I need to search your purse.” My bag was small and I couldn’t have fit a T-shirt in it, but I emptied the contents of my purse anyway.
I told her that I knew she was just doing her job, but I couldn’t help but wonder if she kept coming up to us because we’re black. We were the only black people there, besides three of the friends who came along with us.
Hamlet said the security guard approached a third time immediately after she accepted Jackson’s proposal:
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.” At this point, five other security guards came over.
I felt humiliated, especially after one of my white friends made a point of asking them to check her bag for the T-shirt, but they refused to do so.
Hamlet said one of the security guards told another to call the police:
It started to get confrontational and I wasn’t interested in waiting around for the police because we didn’t know what would happen.
Taylor Roy, a senior communications specialist at the Boston Beer Company, which owns Angry Orchards, said the company has reached out to the couple “to try to make things right and prevent something like this from happening again” and added that the incident was “based on what the security guards thought was a credible claim, it was mishandled.”