National News

CVS Fires 2 for Calling Police on Black Woman Over Coupon

Posted July 16, 2018 8:24 p.m. EDT

CVS Health fired two employees at a Chicago area store Monday, just days after a black woman posted a video that she said showed one of them — a white man — calling the police after she tried to use a coupon they believed to be fraudulent.

The drugstore company also said it had apologized to the woman, Camilla Hudson.

In a post with the video on Facebook, Hudson said that the confrontation involved two managers during her visit to the store on Friday night.

She said she had tried to make a purchase with a coupon mailed to her by the product manufacturer, but a manager said he thought it was fake. Her photo of the coupon showed a December 2018 expiration date and indicated it was good for up to $17.99 toward a personal medical item.

Eventually, she said, the manager walked away, and when she followed him “he ran to the back of the store and slammed a door in my face.” Then, she said, another manager arrived to tell her to leave because he had called the police.

The video shows an employee, who identifies himself to the police as Morry Matson, on the phone describing Hudson, as his arm shakes.

In a statement, the Chicago Police said officers responded late Friday to a call of an “assault in progress” at the CVS.

“Police were informed that a female was inside the store threatening the staff and refusing to leave,” the statement said, adding that the “victim did not press charges and no police report was filed.”

The episode is among the latest in a string of well-documented encounters captured on video in which a white person calls the police on a black person for what are, at the most, ordinary misunderstandings of daily life. They have drawn anger and public shaming on social media and multiple articles in national news reports.

Among the encounters: a white apartment complex manager who called the police on a black man wearing socks in the complex’s pool; a white woman who called the police on a 8-year-old black girl for selling water; and a white Yale student who called the police on a black graduate student who had fallen asleep in her dorm’s common room. This one followed a similar trajectory.

“Needless to say,” Hudson wrote in her Saturday Facebook post, “this is far from over.”

Outrage online and news reports followed. And by Monday, CVS said in a statement that it had “sincerely apologized to Ms. Hudson for her experience” and that after an investigation, “the two colleagues who were involved are no longer employed by CVS Health.”

A spokesman for the company, Mike DeAngelis, said CVS would not identify the pair, but specified that “they were both employed as shift supervisors at the store.”

Neither Hudson nor Matson responded to multiple requests for comment Monday.

Citing a campaign site that has since been removed from the web, The Chicago Sun Times reported that Matson is running for City Council from the 48th Ward, in the northern part of Chicago.

Officials for the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization representing conservatives who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, also confirmed Monday that Matson had been a leader of its Illinois chapter, but added that they had terminated the chapter’s provisional charter after learning of his actions.