Annapolis man sues clerk over attack with stun gun Shopkeeper suspected him of stealing soft drink

January 28, 1998|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Annapolis man is seeking $1.45 million from a package store, claiming that he might never feel comfortable around people of Asian descent again because the Asian shopkeeper suspected him of stealing a soda and shot him with a stun gun.

Clarence Bouie of the 1000 block of Madison St., who is black, filed the lawsuit Monday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court against Annapolis Wine & Spirit, a store at 1307 Forest Drive.

"I think it heightens awareness of issues between the Asian community and the African-American community," said Daryl D. Jones, Bouie's lawyer. "I'm certain there are some deeply harbored prejudices."

Jones said he has heard complaints that some Asian store clerks in the county are wary of black customers and restrict the number of black customers allowed in a store at a given time.

Bouie could not be reached for comment.

Bouie went into the store about 10 p.m. Aug. 13, , bought a grape soda and left. A few minutes later, carrying the soda, he came back with a friend because he wanted to buy pistachios, according to the lawsuit.

When an employee, identified as Tze Yung Pun, rang up the pistachios and asked Bouie about the soda, he said he had bought it a few minutes earlier, the lawsuit says.

Another worker, identified as Tjong Loi Hin, came from behind the counter and shoved Bouie, the suit says. Bouie shoved back, and when he tried to leave, Hin followed him out and zapped him with the stun gun, according to the suit.

Asked about the allegations, Hin said yesterday that he did not know what a reporter was talking about.

The incident has caused Bouie such distress that he has sought psychiatric help and might be unable to work and live harmoniously "with persons of Asian descent," the lawsuit says.

He is seeking $1 million in punitive damages and $450,000 in compensatory damages.

Bouie also swore out a criminal complaint accusing Pun of assault and use of an electronic device. The case is pending in District Court, court records show.

Pub Date: 1/28/98

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