H&M Awards More Than $100,000 to Wrongfully Arrested Black Woman

Brenda Moaning, a 59-year-old grandmother, was falsely accused of shoplifting at an H&M store in Oregon and awarded more than $105,000 for battery, false arrest, and punitive damages.

In May 2011, Brenda Moaning, a 59-year-old grandmother, was exiting her local H&M store in Oregon when two loss prevention officers and a security guard intervened and reportedly forced her into a security room. Moaning claimed that she was told she “looked like a common thief."

The incident reportedly began after Moaning prepaid for a $5 T-shirt at the register before picking up the item on her way out, which a clerk confirmed. 

Fast forward to this week, when a jury in Mulnomah County, Oregon awarded Moaning with more than $105,000 for battery, false arrest and punitive damages after concluding her arrest to be false. However, jurors said she had failed to prove racial discrimination during the five-day trial. 

“Now, when I do go into stores it makes me wonder, 'OK, is a code being called because a black woman has entered the store?'” Moaning told Oregon Live. “I feel like I’m being watched.”

H&M has since released an official statement regarding the incident:

"We apologize for all the inconvenience we caused the customer. We have full respect for the judicial process; this case has now been settled and we have no further comment."

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 (Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for H&M)

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