Eyes on the Reprisal

Racial bias alleged in unwarranted detention of two black, elderly women

"He was holding on to both of us. In fact, I had to pull back, and I told him, I said, 'I can walk. Just turn me loose.' And then he said, 'Don't jerk away again,' because he kept saying, 'I'll slam you to the floor. Do this and I'll slam you to the floor.'

"My aunt told him, says, 'I bought everything I have,' because he asked for a receipt, and she says, 'We can go back in the store and go to the sales lady, and we can show the receipt then.' And he said, 'Okay.'"

Once inside the store, however, Manka took them to a different direction, toward his security office.

Rand Carlson

"Both women started grabbing fixtures and tables, and you know in an attempt to either stay there or not go any farther," Manka testified. "They were actually pulling displays down.

"I even told the people that were standing by that were watching this happen that I was a police officer and that it was okay, because there was such a commotion going on. I believed that people thought that I was probably trying to assault these women."

Priestly: "Well, we ran to the store and instead of going to the counter where the sales lady was, he was pulling me this way. When he did that, I grabbed onto the fixture. I didn't want to go to his room. I didn't know where he was carrying me. . . . I held on to the fixture and that way I thought probably the manager would come and see what's going on here . . .

"That's why I was talking. I wasn't fussing, I wasn't cursing, I wasn't swearing. . . . And he just kept telling me to shut up, shut up, and I'm trying to explain."

A mall security guard arrived and persuaded the women to accompany Manka to the security office. He took Priestly inside and had Patterson stand in the doorway. He seized the Dillard's bag and dumped the contents on the floor but found no receipt.

Patterson said that when her aunt reached for her purse to retrieve the receipt, "He grabbed her. . . . And he pushed her up against this table, and he started twisting her arms up behind her back. And that's when I started going toward my aunt. And I told him, I said, 'You're hurting her. You're hurting her.'"

Manka slapped Priestly in handcuffs.

He discovered the proper receipt for the Dillard's items in Priestly's purse, then turned to Patterson and asked who she was. She told him.

"And then he said, 'Well, where do you have any ID or proof? You might be lying,'" Patterson testified. "And so I got up, because I left my purse in the room, and when I went to go get my purse, he grabbed -- he snatched my purse and he said, 'Uh-uh, I'm going to handcuff you.' And he held me with his body while he pulled my arms behind my back, and he handcuffed me. And then he took me back out and pushed me in a chair. And then he started going through my purse, and he went in my wallet, and everything, and got my driver's license."

Patterson had the JC Penney bag with her. "He grabbed the JC Penney bag and he said, 'Where did you steal this from?' And I looked at him and I said, 'Nobody stole that.' I said, 'We purchased that.' And then he said, 'Oh, you stole it,' and then he just took his hand and ripped the plastic bag off the suit, and I told him, I said, 'We have a receipt for that.'"

The Penney receipt was also in Priestly's purse.

Patterson: "He got the receipt out, and he checked the receipt with the tag. He saw it was the same. And he said, 'Well, you still could have stole it.'"

Patterson could only respond to such nonsense with sarcasm: "And I said, 'Well,' I said, 'now when you steal things, you just pick out what you want and you walk up to the cashier, and they just bag it for you.'"

The detective was determined to justify his manhandling of the innocent women. He called JC Penney to verify that the item in that bag hadn't been stolen.

Manka accused Patterson of stealing the tee shirt she wore. But after inspecting it, he told her, "We don't carry this brand. No, maybe you didn't steal this here."

The hectoring intensified. "He said, 'I'll bet you've been in jail three or four times for stealing,' and he was accusing me, but I was just sitting there, and finally . . . I said, 'Listen. I don't steal, I work. I work. I've just retired from a job, and prior to that job I worked for the county. I don't have to steal.' And then his attitude kind of changed," Patterson said.

Still, Manka called a female sales associate to frisk Priestly and Patterson and check under their clothing to see whether they had merchandise hidden there.

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