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Yesterday, the New York Daily News published an article about Trayon Christian, a teenager from Queens who was approached and detained by undercover cops after buying a Ferragamo belt from Barneys on Madison Avenue. According to the lawsuit he filed, the cops confronted him outside of the store after he made his purchase, and asked "how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt."
The suit also claims that he was "targeted by staffers" at the department store, and Christian explained to the paper that the cops had told him that an employee at Barneys called to report a fradulent credit card. The New York Post now has its own article on another shopper who claims she was on the receiving end of racial profiling at the store. Kayla Phillips told the paper that the same thing happened to her after she purchased a $2,500 Céline bag.
According to Phillips: "As I was walking into the train station, four undercover police officers attacked me.They asked me why I used a debit card and why it didn't have my name on it." (She currently had a temporary Bank of America card.) The Post story continues:
A frightened Phillips called her mom, who told The Post cops had asked, "What are you doing here in Manhattan? Where'd you get the money to buy that expensive bag?"
Her mother, Wendy Straker, said the police were clearly on the phone with a Barneys rep who was feeding them information about her daughter's transaction.
When she showed police her ID and her new debit card, which had arrived in the mail that morning, they let her go.
Yesterday, a Barneys spokesperson released a statement which read: "After carefully reviewing the incident of last April [of Trayon Christian], it is clear that no employee of Barneys New York was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale. Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and we stand by our long history in support of all human rights."
· 'Barneys busted me for buying $2,500 bag' [NYP]
· Updated: Queens Teen Slaps Barneys With Discrimination Suit [Racked NY]