Two gay Black women are suing a Silver Lake 7-Eleven store, alleging their civil rights and those of a 13-year-old girl with them were violated when the cashier showered all three with pepper spray and struck one of the adults with a baton during a confrontation at the counter this spring.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was brought Wednesday by Shaquesha McFrazier and Sabrina Westbrook against the store at 3555 W. Temple Ave. and its owner, Kiran Hussain. The 13-year-old girl also is a plaintiff, but her relationship to the adult women is not stated in the suit, which seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
“The brutal assault, battery and denial of service … was because of plaintiffs’ race, ethnicity and sexual orientation,” the suit states.
A message left at the store for Hussain was not immediately returned.
The three plaintiffs went to the store on May 24, selected some items and went to the counter to pay, the suit states. The cashier, a non-Black male, was “immediately rude, distrustful and aggressive toward them,” according to the suit, which does not state whether the cashier was Hussain.
After McFrazier made her purchases, the cashier shoved the items across the counter toward her, prompting McFrazier to say, “Don’t do that. That’s rude,” the suit states.
The cashier came out from behind the counter holding a metal baton, then drew a can of pepper spray and, without provocation, showered the three plaintiffs with the substance in their faces and about their heads, the suit states.
“During this brutal attack, he struck plaintiff Westbrook in the neck with the baton,” according to the suit.
The employee “hatefully spewed curse words” at the trio and told them, “Get out, get out, go, go, go,” the suit alleges.”
The plaintiffs were forced to flee the store without most of the items for which they had already paid and had to use the bottle of water they bought to wash some of the noxious spray off of the teen’s face and head, the suit states.
The plaintiffs were treated in a disparate manner from non-Black male and/or heterosexual customers, the suit alleges.
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