A former Montreal city councillor, who is black, is accusing her local supermarket of racially profiling her.
Sonya Biddle, daughter of jazz legend Charlie Biddle, said she's always felt eyes were on her when shopping at the IGA in the Lanaudière community of St-Félix-de-Valois. But two recent incidents in the past two weeks upset her - she claims the manager followed her in the store the first time last month and a security guard followed her the second time yesterday.
"This man is actually following me with his arms crossed, giving me dirty looks. So I said 'Ok, are you following me?' And he said, 'Yes, my boss told me to,' " said Biddle in an interview with CJAD 800 News.
"Following me around the store like I'm some kind of criminal."
The first time Biddle said it happened, a cashier told her that perhaps it was because the man was hitting on her and even her husband told her she was imagining things.
"I know the difference between someone cruising you and someone stalking you," Biddle remembered telling her husband, who was witness to the second incident and exchange with the manager.
Biddle said the manager denied up and down racism has anything to do with it, telling her that it was his store and he could do what he wants. Store owner Ginette Rainville also said it was not racial profiling and that they simply have measures to prevent shoplifting, calling it a big problem.
"I don't understand why she felt targetted. We even have a black employee," said Rainville.
Sobeys, which owns IGA, backed up the store.
"We can assure you that there was absolutely no racial profiling in the store. These are normal procedures and effort that all our merchants put in place to minimize the risk of theft in the store, without any consideration of skin color or origin of the customer," said spokesperson Laurie Fossat in an email.
Biddle is asking for an apology, saying the incident was upsetting and humiliating.
"I'm still all shook up, because I thought this kind of stuff was over," said Biddle.
"I really think this is really unjust and I don't think anybody should have to go through that."