A Chicago Restaurant Owner Filmed Employees in the Women's Bathroom

In Depth

Multiple women who until recently were employees of a Chicago restaurant have alleged (and in this case, “alleged” means “have concrete evidence”) that the restaurant’s owner was filming them in the bathroom.

Lakeesha Harris, formerly of Sammy’s Touch (which has to be the most shudder-inducing name in the history of restaurants given the context), had been working for owner Tariq Sweis for two years when she and another employee discovered what Sweis was up to:

But on Nov. 15, 2013, a new hire whom Harris was training phoned her and was “hysterical,” claiming she had found a camera hidden inside a bucket in the employee’s restroom, Harris said.
“The way the camera was angled you could see between our legs. She was upset and I didn’t know what to say. She videotaped the hidden camera and took it straight to the police,” Harris said.
By the time Harris got to the store, the buckets in the bathroom had been rearranged and the alleged hidden camera was gone, she said.

Here’s where it gets really fucked up: while Sweis has been charged with three misdemeanor counts for unauthorized video recording, he can’t be charged with a felony because no actual video was found — meaning they can charge him for intent to film, but not for the more serious crime of actually filming. Why don’t they have anything to nail him with, you ask? Maybe because they never attempted to confiscate the camera or asked for a search warrant for Sweis’ computer.

Let’s contrast this with the case of Dr. Robert Weiss, a prominent Chicago eye doctor who did basically the same thing as Sweis; except Weiss has been charged with “unathorized videotaping.” That may sound a lot like the crime Sweis is charged with, but apparently the difference in verbiage from “video recording” to “videotaping” is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. The police immediately obtained a search warrant in Weiss’ case, leading them to find the materials necessary to charge him with a more severe crime.

So why the difference? Oh, right — Weiss’ victims were white. Aaaand there it is. But no, that can’t be it, because we live in a post-racial society, whatever the fuck that means. So it must be because of…uh…well, we’ll get back to you on that.

Image via Ivakoleva/Shutterstock.

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