Woman says she was told to remove hoodie in Houston store

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- An African-American woman claims she was discriminated against by employees of a Houston store when they asked her to remove her "hoodie."

Coquisee White said the incident occurred last Sunday inside the Family Dollar near Antoine and Pinemont. According to White, the employee approached her and said "...we are racially profiling.. could you take off your hoodie?"

White says the employee told the store had been robbed recently and that it is their policy now not to allow any customers to wear the hoods of their sweatshirts over their heads while shopping.

White refused to take the hood off her head. She told us she decided then not to make any purchase at the store because of the incident, then left.

The People's Lawyer, Richard Alderman, told us private businesses have the legal right to ask someone to remove an article of clothing, however he said they do not have the right to discriminate against anyone based on race. "They can't do it if it's being done to racially profile," Alderman said.

Representatives at the Family Dollar Houston store referred us to their corporate offices for comment. A spokesperson responded that it is not company policy to ask customers to remove hoods or sweatshirts before entering stores.

Coincidentally, a Republican Oklahoma state Senator is attempting to pass legislation that makes it a crime there to wear the popular winter apparel. The bill specifically would make it a crime to hide your identity in public. If passed, those convicted could be fined up to $500 per incident. null
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