Feb 19, 2013




TMZ --- Forest Whitaker is furious with a NYC deli ... telling TMZ he was wrongly accused of shoplifting Friday morning ... and even FRISKED IN PUBLIC in a humiliating violation of his rights.

Whitaker -- an Academy Award-winning MILLIONAIRE -- says he was on his way out of the Milano Market on the Upper West Side Friday when he was stopped by a deli employee and accused of swiping an item from the shelf.

An eyewitness tells TMZ ... the employee proceeded to frisk Whitaker in plain view ... treating him as if he were a common criminal.

Shocker, the employee's pat down yielded zilch ... and Forest left the establishment baffled and angry.

Whitaker's rep tells TMZ, "This was an upsetting incident given the fact that Forest did nothing more than walk into the deli. What is most unfortunate about this situation is the inappropriate way store employees are treating patrons of their establishment.

Frisking individuals without proof/evidence is a violation of rights."

The rep adds, "Forest did not call the authorities at the request of the worker who was in fear of losing his employment. Forest asked that, in the future, the store change their behavior and treat the public in a fair and just manner.”

The NYC deli that accused Forest Whitaker of shoplifting last week is blaming the incident on a "misguided" employee ... and insists race was absolutely NOT a factor.

TMZ spoke with a rep for the Milano Market ... where the Academy Award winner was publicly FRISKED after he was wrongly suspected of stealing an item.

The rep tells us, "The management of Milano Market deeply regrets the wrongful actions of our employee in stopping and frisking Forest Whitaker."

"While we can not delve into the employee's mindset, we do not believe that he was racially motivated in his actions, simply misguided."

The Market says it is taking steps to retrain employees so it doesn't happen again.

And there's more ... the rep says the store wants to reach out to Forest so it could make a donation to the charity of his choice, in an effort to make things right.

The shop owner called in to TMZ Live to issue a formal apology for the incident. He also said he FIRED the guy who frisked Forest.

QUESTION:Why does a black person have to be famous in order for ‘Stop and Frisk’ actions by an establishment to be deemed racist and embarrassing? I wonder how many black people have been stopped and frisked at this deli. I mean after all this is New York City. ‘Stop and Frisk’ is the law of the land in New York.


Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2013/02/18/forest-whitaker-deli-apologizes-milano-marker-nyc-charity/#ixzz2LLX42XY4
Visit the TMZ Store: http://tmzstore.com

Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2013/02/18/forest-whitaker-deli-apologizes-milano-marker-nyc-charity/#ixzz2LLWzSvof
Visit the TMZ Store: http://tmzstore.com

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