A New York teen has filed a lawsuit against Barneys New York, the city, and the NYPD claiming he was detained after making an expensive purchase at the high end department store because he is young and black.
Nineteen-year old Queens resident Trayon Christian said he purchased a $350 Ferragamo belt at Barneys on Madison Avenue in April. After leaving the store, he said he was accosted by undercover NYPD officers, who told him someone at the store had raised concerns over the sale.
Christian's lawsuit says he showed cops the receipt from the purchase, the debit card he used to make it and identification, but was told the identification was false and that "he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase." The suit says he was detained in a cell for more than two hours before being released with no charges filed.
In a statement, Barneys denied it was involved in any detention, saying "that after carefully reviewing the incident of last April, it is clear that no employee of Barneys New York was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than making the sale."
The NYPD says the matter is under internal review.
Meanwhile, another shopper who heard about the lawsuit came forward Wednesday to say she had a similar experience after purchasing a $2,500 Celine handbag at Barneys in February.
Kayla Phillips, 21, of Brooklyn, told the New York Daily News and she was surrounded by police after leaving the store. They demanded to know why she used a debit card without a name on it, she said.
Phillips explained that it was a temporary card, and after showing police identification and a new debit card that had arrived in the mail that morning, they let her go. She says she also intends to sue the Police Department.
The president of the Brooklyn chapter of Al Sharpton's National Action Network says the group is seeking a meeting with the CEO of Barneys New York and plans to picket the department store if an alleged pattern of racial profiling doesn't stop.