A federal lawsuit has been filed by a man who says he was arrested at a Walmart in Florida after being mistakenly identified as someone else, thus putting his life at risk.
The November 2022 arrest in question, per a regional report from WFTS, was captured in widely shared footage from the Spring Hill area store. Tony Nguyen, the man who says he was targeted in the incident, is now seeking $10 million in a lawsuit alleging he was subjected to racial profiling and a false arrest.
In short, Nguyen is said to have been shopping when he was mistakenly identified as Cody Vondelinde. 911 audio included in multiple reports includes the voice of someone, presumably an employee at the store, providing the incorrect identification to a dispatcher.
As lawyer Harry M. Daniels explained, this is a clear case of profiling due to the fact that his client was not even accurately identified once a deputy arrived to the scene.
“This is a case of ‘all Asians look alike’ because when (the deputy) showed up, guess what he didn’t do? He didn’t identify Tony,” Daniels said.
In fact, Nguyen is alleged to have not been asked to confirm his identity until he arrived at the sheriff’s office; even then, Nguyen claimed, he was subjected to being held against his will. While law enforcement has been reported to have since pointed to a decade-old trespassing warning involving Nguyen, he and his lawyer have noted this is not related to the alleged false arrest at the center of this lawsuit.
As of Monday, per court records viewed by Complex, a summons had been issued in the case. The initial complaint, meanwhile, was filed last Thursday.
Complex has reached out to Walmart, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, and Nguyen’s lawyer for comment. This story may be updated.