Shopper called thief, slapped in public

For anybody, being called a thief in public could be nothing less than embarrassing. A 41-year-old Nigerian had more than that. He was slapped in front of people and was forcibly restrained by the manager and staff of a supermarket in Sharjah.


Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Wed 18 Apr 2012, 12:16 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 11:43 AM

Shopping turned into a nightmare for the father of five children, who preferred anonymity in fear of being hounded again.

He was getting out of the supermarket in Al Nabba area of Sharjah on Thursday, when he was stopped by the staff of the shop. The manager of the shop, an Indian, came out, giving directions of the super market to somebody over phone. The manager immediately slapped him and held him by his trouser as he continued talking. Four workers of the supermarket surrounded him as a crowd gathered outside the shop.

The man was all Greek to what was happening and he asked the manager to tell him what he had done. Another slap was the answer and he was told that the police would be arriving soon.

A Sudanese man in civilian clothes, but believed to be from the CID, appeared and asked the manager to release the man’s trouser. He said the manager had no right to hold the man like that and demanded that they should tell the man what he had done.

Shortly, police arrived the scene and inquired the manager what was happening there.

The manager told the police that he had got a thief and ordered one of his staff to bring the footage of the closed circuit camera. However, the video showed another black man moving around the shelves of the supermarket, picking some goods. The police watched the footage and immediately declared that they got the wrong man.

The police asked the Nigerian man whether he wanted to place charges against the manager for slapping him. However, he answered in negative and said he just wanted to be let go. Both the police and the manager said sorry to him.

But to most of the Africans in the area, the story needed to be highlighted as they could not come in terms with a person being harassed simply on the basis of his colour in a country like the UAE.

A police spokesman said they could not file a case because the victim did not want to. He said the real thief had been arrested and the case was being followed by the Heera police station.

The management of the supermarket declined to comment on the incident.

More news from Crime and Courts