NY attorney general to investigate Barneys, Macy’s racial profiling claims

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MANHATTAN (PIX11) – The New York State Attorney General’s Office has launched an investigation into both Macy’s and Barneys over allegations of racially profiling shoppers.

PIX 11 News learned exclusively on Tuesday, that Trayon Christian, whose case sparked the rash of “Shop and Frisk” reports will be meeting with the AG’S office later this week.  In fact, Eric Schneiderman’s office has reportedly sent letters to the CEOs of both stores with the ultimatum that they turn over any information related to their policies for questioning, stopping and detaining customers based on race.  Barneys and Macy’s have until Friday to comply.

As for Tuesday’s big meeting, the Rev. Al Sharpton summed it up like this,  “We are interested in a policy that will not render blacks as automatic suspects when they go in stores.”

The Rev. Sharpton said that minutes after his meeting with Mark Lee, the CEO of Barneys.  Lee headed uptown Tuesday morning to meet with the Rev. Sharpton over the alleged Barneys racial profiling scandals.

“We are alarmed that we are now dealing with a climate of ‘Shop and Frisk’,” said Sharpton in the headquarters of the group he founded.

Sharpton was referring to the scandals that began with Christian, the 19-year-old from Queens, who is now suing Barneys and the NYPD over his unlawful arrest after he properly purchased a $348 belt.

Lee offered his deepest sympathies to Christian as well as the other shopper in the Barneys scandal Kayla Phillips.

Then seconds later the CEO pivoted and said that the preliminary investigation, which of means they have not reached a final conclusion, indicates that, “In both of these instances, no one from Barneys New York raised any issue with these purchases. No one from Barneys brought them to the attention of our internal security and no one from Barneys reached out to external authorities.”

Which coincidentally are the same sentiments Macy’s offered up to PIX11 News in a statement on Sunday.

On Monday, PIX11 News reported that the voided arrest report in actor Rob Brown’s case attained by PIX 11 News states that at Time/Place/Occurrence, the ArrestingOfficer was informed of a possible fraudulent card.

Additionally, PIX11 News tracked down a 2003 federal lawsuit charging Macys with racial profiling and false imprisonment of a Bronx paralegal. The suit was settled a year later in July 2004.

Intriguing to note is that the suit states that Macy’s had “quotas” for the number of cases that in store security were required to make.  It also detailed the “In-Store Civil Demand Payment Program” which pressured alleged shoplifters to make in-store payments, including excessive fines and signing false confessions that forbid them from returning to Macy’s for seven years.

One of the defendants listed in the 2004 settlement is Tom Roan.  Roan is still with Macy’s according to a store spokesperson who confirmed the title on his linked in page as Group Vice President of Loss Prevention for Macy’s.

1 Comment

  • Sean

    I was at a Macy's store in Paramus, New Jersey and I was accused of looking suspicious and smelling like explosives… I had just bought a pack of underwear, socks and tshirts is all… Maybe they thought I was about to underwear bomb the store… Mall security came out of the woodwork and surrounded me while yelling stop and open the bag. I never consented to showing them the contents of my bag and I stood my ground. I think the 5th Column Red Macy Star Communists just objected to the American Flag patch on my backpack… I confronted the store manager a few days later and recorded the conversation… He first refused to comment, but he later acknowledged that Macys receives bomb threats… He said he didn't know if it was right or wrong to profile people, but he said safety was a top priority of the store. Maybe I'll post the recording on the Web sometime. Ginger discrimination? Not all Gingers are affiliated with the IRA! Profiling is wrong! Don't shop at Macys!

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