A man is suing a major department store after he said he was falsely accused of shoplifting cologne. He said he spent weeks in jail only to have his case thrown out.
Channel 9 anchor Nancy Alvarez got a copy of surveillance video that he said proves his innocence.
Tosin Ogunsiji said he had just bought a bottle of cologne at the J. C. Penney store in the Florida Mall when all of a sudden he was accused of stealing it. He said he was taken from the store to jail.
"It is very traumatizing," Ogunsiji said.
Ogunsiji is from Nigeria and English is his second language, but he said he clearly understood a cashier who told him she didn't have the cologne he had just paid for at the counter.
He said she told him to take a bottle from a display nearby.
"I went straight there, I grabbed the bottle of cologne and put it in the bag she had given me," said Ogunsiji.
In the video Ogunsiji can be seen leaving the story holding a receipt. The video ends when store security approached him.
Ogunsiji was arrested on a shoplifting charge but his case was thrown out.
Still, an immigration issue, that has since been resolved, forced him to spend three months in jail.
"The police officer simply took the word of the security personnel that this was stolen. Nobody looked at the receipt, no one talked to the cashier," said Ogunsiji.
Attorney Todd Long is representing Ogunsiji in a civil lawsuit against J. C. Penney.
Alvarez asked Long how a man holding a receipt could be arrested. Long said he has no doubt race played a role.
"The person that's being dismissed, not being treated with respect or allowed to tell a story or simply show a receipt happened to be a black, Nigerian man that no one wanted to listen to," said Long.
Ogunsiji said he hopes people are listening now.
"I do not want this happening to anybody else," he said.
Officials from J. C. Penney said they would not comment on the case because of the pending lawsuit.
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