Nathaniel Cruz went to the Publix on 57th Avenue and Northwest Seventh Street for tuna and some crackers. A store security guard thought he was shoplifting, so he took him to a backroom. “The gentleman said take everything in your pocket out, and I put the bag on the floor first, and then I started taking my cell phone, my wallet, my keys,” said Nathaniel Cruz.
According to Cruz, the situation went beyond emptying pockets. He said he was taken to a restroom and forced to take off his clothes, all in the search for eye-drops. “And I tell them, OK, I’m going to take my clothes off, if I don’t have it, we are going to have some problems,” said Nathaniel. “It was almost 8:30 p.m. I said, ‘Do I really look like we really need to do that?’ OK, no problem.”
After the search nothing was found. Cruz said they apologized and eventually found the eye-drops in an aisle. Cruz left the Publix and called his 69-year-old father who rushed to the Publix and spoke with the manager. “He told me that they made a mistake, and they feel sorry about it,” said Isidore Cruz.
The Cruz’s have now hired Aronfeld Trial Lawyers, and on Wednesday Spencer Aronfeld filed a lawsuit against Publix. “This is a very unusual case because if this had happened to a young woman, people would be completely outraged. Sexual assault cases, and I believe this is a form of sexual assault, happens to men and women. He was taken against his will and forced to strip down naked, and this is not acceptable,” Aronfeld said.
Publix can’t comment because they have not seen a lawsuit yet, because there is a possibility of pending litigation. However, they do have policies to deal with shoplifting.