CVS fires 2 Chicago store employees after white manager calls cops on black customer

CHICAGO — CVS has fired two employees at a store in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood who called the police on a black female customer Saturday after she attempted to use a coupon.

“We have completed our investigation, and as a result the two colleagues who were involved are no longer employed by CVS Health,” Mike DeAngelis, a spokesman for CVS Health, said in an email.

The company also said it has “sincerely apologized” to the customer, Camilla Hudson, who shared her experience on Facebook, including a video of the store manager on the phone with police.

The episode is the latest incident of alleged racial profiling or customer mistreatment at retail stores and other venues that quickly went viral on social media. It also exemplifies how some companies are quickly responding to the often swift and harsh public backlash before it does more than bruise their corporate reputations.

Hudson said the incident took place Saturday at CVS’ store at 6150 N. Broadway. According to her account posted on Facebook, the store manager said he believed her coupon to be fraudulent. Hudson said she asked for his name and title to complain, and tensions escalated. Hudson posted a video of the store manager, who identified himself as Morry Matson, on the phone with police. Police responded to the store but took no action, according to the Chicago Police Department.

CVS issued an apology Saturday and said it was investigating the matter.

“CVS Health does not tolerate any practices that discriminate against any customer and we are committed to maintaining a welcoming and diverse environment in our stores,” DeAngelis said in his email Monday. “We have firm non-discrimination policies in place to help ensure that all customers are treated with respect and dignity. Profiling or any other type of discriminatory behavior is strictly prohibited.”

— Chicago Tribune

Russian gun rights advocate arrested by U.S. for conspiracy

WASHINGTON — A prominent gun rights advocate and Russian national was arrested in Washington Sunday and accused of conspiring to act as an agent of Russia without registering in the U.S.

Mariia Butina served as a special assistant to the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, Alexander Torshin, a former Russian senator belonging to Vladimir Putin’s political party with alleged ties to the Russian mob world. Both Butina and Torshin are lifetime members of the National Rifle Association.

— Bloomberg News

Judge delays start of ‘El Chapo’ trial for 2 months

NEW YORK — A federal judge in Brooklyn on Monday delayed the start of the trial of accused Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman Loera, known as “El Chapo,” for two months.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan postponed the trial from Sept. 5 to Nov. 5 at the request of Guzman’s defense lawyer, who said he just received a mountain of new evidence from prosecutors.

Cogan had planned to bring hundreds of jurors to court in mid-August to fill out questionnaires. He hasn’t yet set a new schedule to correspond to the delayed trial date.

The trial is expected to last 12 weeks.

Guzman, 60, was extradited to the United States last year to face charges that he used intimidation and violence as head of the feared Sinaloa cartel to run a massive drug trafficking operation that shipped 20 tons of cocaine into the U.S.

He twice escaped from prisons in Mexico, and has been held in high-security conditions at the federal lockup in Manhattan since his arrival in New York.

Eduardo Balarezo, Guzman’s lawyer, has asked for the trial to be moved from Brooklyn as a result of prejudicial publicity stemming from security closures of the Brooklyn Bridge every day he is transported to court.

He has asked Cogan to move the trial to Manhattan, or to Philadelphia. The judge has not yet ruled on that request. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 14.

— Newsday

Flooding kills at least 49 people in Nigeria

ABUJA, Nigeria — At least 49 people were killed by flooding in northwestern Nigeria, the local emergency agency said Monday.

At least 20 people remained missing after heavy downpours in the night from Sunday to Monday caused the Jibia Dam to overflow, flooding several villages in the Jibia local government area of Katsina State, according to the state’s emergency agency executive secretary Amin Waziri.

The floods destroyed more than 500 houses and injured 29 people, Waziri added.

Local media reported that more than 260 livestock were killed in the flooding.

Several people remained missing on Monday evening, according to the reports.

— dpa