A Hudson, Florida man filed a federal lawsuit against a Hernando County, Florida deputy and Walmart, alleging racial profiling and false arrest.
Tony Nguyen was arrested by a deputy in November 2022 after a Walmart employee mistook Nguyen for another man of Asian descent, Cody Vondelinde, who was issued a trespass warning from the Walmart in 2018, WFTS reported.
In a video from Nov. 27 posted by Nguyen’s girlfriend, Lauren Caldwell, Nguyen is shown to be handcuffed by the deputy inside the Walmart, then escorted away in a sheriff’s car.
“I was pleading with the officer. What are you doing? Why are you doing this?” Caldwell told WTSP.
The Walmart employee reportedly directed the deputy to Nguyen and identified him as Vondelinde, which Nguyen’s attorney argues is a case of profiling.
“This is a case of all Asians look alike because when (the deputy) showed up, guess what he didn’t do? He didn’t identify Tony,” the attorney said to WFTS.
Nguyen states that it was not until he was taken to the jail that they asked for his ID.
Nguyen shared another video with WFTS, where the deputy confirms that Nguyen was, in fact, not who they thought he was.
“I’m just happy to be alive today,” Nguyen told WTSP. “It could have went south. I could be dead.”
Nguyen’s attorney filed a federal lawsuit against Walmart, the deputy and the Walmart employee for $10 million this Thursday.
“I’m still nervous. I’m still anxious. I have a dash cam in all my cars. I’m ready to pull my phone out. I’m still scared. I thought it would never happen to me. You would think it would never happen to you, and it did,” Nguyen told WFTS.
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