A North Carolina man recorded a shoplifter inside Walmart’s Wilmington location, only to be verbally harassed, threatened with arrest and banned by a clueless employee of the SuperCenter last Friday afternoon.
Jon Andrade thought he was doing the retail giant a favor by using his cell phone to capture a petty theft, when Walmart employees turned on him and demanded that he leave or be arrested for criminal trespassing on private property ending the encounter by telling the man that he is “Banned.”
The minute and ten seconds long video below picks up when Andrade was nearly in the parking lot.
As Jon was exiting the store, he sees a woman who has shoplifted from Walmart. She had thrown down a large purse filled with items she had stolen and takes off, into the parking lot, out the front doors. My husband, who worked as a security officer for over 5 years, instantly is in the mindset to whip out his IPhone and record this woman and this incident happening, thinking maybe he could help out; Not to mention in this day and age, the majority of people who see a crazy incident at Walmart are going to instantly grab their smartphone and hit record.
A Walmart employee, ironically wearing a “GAP” sweatshirt asks him to, “Please stop recording.”
That’s where the pleasantries ended.
“I’m good man,” replied Andrade when the unidentified Walmart employee who isn’t wearing a uniform, lanyard or badge says, “You can take me off camera too, or else I’m going to have you charged with harassment and stalking.”
“How am I harassing you?” asked Andrade who was recording vertically, which goes against best practices for prospective citizen journalists, to which the Walmart employee replied comically, “Because, I’m not a cop, you can’t record me.”
Too bad the Walmart employee who isn’t a cop, is also dead wrong.
The First Amendment protects photography as a pre-cursor to expressive speech – such as Joe Andrade’s post which is going viral on YouTube today – and when in public, jurisprudence says that there is no expectation of privacy for anyone, police or otherwise.
While Walmart’s parking lots are private property, they aren’t considered a private place.
Furthermore, North Carolina is a “one-party consent” state, so even if these clueless Walmart employees did have an expectation of privacy, because Andrade consented to recording, there’s no state law under which to prosecute someone for recording video or audio even surreptitiously in private.
Also, Joe Andrade’s wife is incensed by the way Walmart’s employees treated her husband for trying to thoughtfully record a crime in progress:
While myself and my two little boys waited in the car, my husband, Jon, ran into our local Walmart, here in Wilmington, North Carolina, to grab a couple of things we needed. My husband, a PAYING WALMART CUSTOMER, who was trying to HELP the store and get a shoplifter on video, was approached, shoved, harassed and called a “Pussy” by a WALMART EMPLOYEE who NEVER identifies himself and then in-turn WALMART MANAGEMENT has no interest in seeing our video and see and hear the harassment and proof of assault by THEIR EMPLOYEE !! Then in-turn BANS, here the CUSTOMER !!!!We are in the process of dealing with attorneys and news stations, and in the meantime, I want this story out there! My husband, who is a responsible, caring, man, father of two, who had just spent money at this store, and tried only to help, and did what most people would do…. this is UNACCEPTABLE.
“DON’T TOUCH ME BRO!” said Andrade as he was walking away from the store.
Unfortunately, he made the rookie mistake of pointing his camera away from the action, the physical battery by the Walmart employee isn’t captured on screen.
Andrade continued to walk away, shopping cart in tow and the Walmart loss-prevention employee continued to follow him saying that he would, “charge him with stalking” as if saying it would make it a legal thing.
“You better leave,” said the Walmart employee before the two men engaged in a flurry of “fuck yous” up and back, and the employee said, “Don’t come back to Walmart.”
“Your a pussy,” said the Walmart employee as the two continued to verbally spar and Andrade opened the car door to his then flustered wife and saying, “You work for Walmart right? And I’m recording this bitch shoplifting and you’re calling me a????”
The encounter ended with the Walmart employee saying, “If you come back to Walmart you’ll be arrested for trespassing, thank you for getting it on camera,” which marked the first intelligent thing he said, as it would become evidence if Andrade ever did return since the private company’s agents are within its rights to ban individuals from its locations.
This North Carolina associate has become YouTube famous for the wrong reasons, and now is going to learn (probably the hard way) when someone may or may not record video at a SuperCenter.
Are Walmart employees ever allowed to say pussy and batter customers? Probably not.