The city of Houston has come to a standstill after a 65-year-old woman was locked in a store and was told she could not leave after she found a $50 bill on the floor.
“There is no reason, why as of Monday morning, no one is under arrest for what happened to sister Betty,” said community activist Quanell X who stood alongside fellow activist Dr. Candice Matthews, Sister Betty and her family at a press conference Monday.
The melee began when employees at Lindemann Grocery Store, a local market in Houston, reprimanded Smith after she found $50 on the floor by happenstance. When they discovered that she had found the money, they locked her in, citing that the money belonged to someone else.
Then things took a turn for the worst. Sister Betty said she was placed in a chokehold while an employee snatched the money from her possession. She also claims that another employee used racial slurs.
“This grandmother, this beautiful elderly Black woman who is suffering and fighting cancer, did nothing wrong in that store,” Quanell X said.
Sister Betty then contacted her family to come to the store, which caused employees to call the police. When officers arrived at the scene, they placed her family in handcuffs. Smith says authorities did not take any statements from her or her family and only spoke with employees at the store.
District Attorney for the Austin County Sheriff’s Department released a statement following the incident stating that he had “received offense reports, witness statements, and extensive video evidence from the Austin County Sheriff’s Office investigation concerning the January 16, 2023, incident at Lindemann Store. The District Attorney’s Office is carefully reviewing this matter, as we do with all investigations forwarded by law enforcement. This remains an ongoing investigation.”
The statement continued: “The office will continue to request and review any additional evidence that may be relevant to charging decisions in this incident. When this matter is completed, the Austin County District Attorney’s Office will issue a press release to notify the public regarding the outcome.”
Following release of the statement, “all three employees involved have been fired, the store owner also apologized, and offered to pay the bail for Smith’s daughter and told her she could have the $50 she found, but Smith declined,” according to a FOX 26 report. “She says what she wants is to see the employees who locked her in the store and attacked her arrested.”