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Theft charges dropped against Pakistani woman in New York

Racial profiling by security officers or even police is an unfortunate reality in New York and across the United States. This is why it is so important, then, that swift action be taken by anyone who feels they have been the victims of racial profiling, in order to protect their innocence.

A 31-year-old Pakistani woman has recently been exonerated of misdemeanor theft charges after being accused of shoplifting a Macy's store in New York -- the exact store featured on the classic holiday movie "Miracle on 34th Street." The prosecution did not meet their burden of proof and could not show beyond a reasonable doubt that the woman committed the crime. The woman claimed that, as a Pakistani, she was unfairly the target of racial profiling and theft accusations.

The woman was suspected of stealing jewelry worth approximately $193. Security guards apparently watched her while she was in the store's jewelry department. They claim she was evading store employees and was carrying two big bags, so they continued to follow her throughout the store. However, the woman had already purchased a jewelry item, and was merely taking the escalator up to the second floor to do a price check on other items.

The woman was ultimately arrested after a two-hour detainment by store security officers. She also had to pay a $500 fine to the store. She claims that store employees were unable to understand her speech due to her accent and that she was the subject of racial profiling. The theft charges against her were ultimately dropped. This is not the first time Macy's has been accused of racial profiling. In 2005 they paid out $600,000 to settle similar complaints.

Our nation's criminal justice system is built on the cornerstone of "innocent until proven guilty." No one should be found guilty, then, if there is not sufficient evidence to prove that they actually committed the crime. Anyone accused of a crime should make sure that they understand the charges against them, so they can face these accusations head-on and successfully argue their case.

Source: Idaho Statesman, "Macy's theft case dropped; woman said false arrest," Jennifer Peltz, April 30

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