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Macy's Responds to Discrimination Claims

Photo by Brian Harkin
Photo by Brian Harkin

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Macy's has released a comment regarding a lawsuit filed by actor Rob Brown that claims he was racially profiled by the department store and confronted and detained by the NYPD after making a purchase from the store's Sunglass Hut. Brown says he was told that he "could not afford to make such an expensive purchase," which seems to be a common refrain for the NYPD: both Kaylas Phillip and Trayon Christian were allegedly told the same thing after being stopped leaving Barneys. The Macy's statement begins:

Macy's takes very seriously the accusations made by Mr. Robert Brown. The allegations are especially concerning given that our company does not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including racial profiling. We are reaching out to Mr. Brown so we can better understand the situation.
Since being made aware of Mr. Brown's lawsuit late Friday, Macy's has begun a thorough investigation of the events related to the incident on June 8, 2013, which are the basis for the lawsuit.

The initial findings of our investigation include the following:
Macy's personnel were not involved in Mr. Brown's detention or questioning. This was an operation of the New York City Police Department.

We have no record of authorities being summoned to the Sunglass Hut department or other portions of the store based on the purchases made by Mr. Brown. Macy's procedures would have required a store associate to alert Macy's Loss Prevention department of any suspicious activity. There were no such reports.

Macy's permitted the New York City Police Department, at its request, to use a room in the Macy's Herald Square store in relation to its detention of Mr. Brown, but Macy's personnel were not involved.

Our company will continue to investigate all aspects of our alleged involvement in this incident, and to cooperate fully with the courts and the New York City Police Department, with which we have a close and important working relationship.

If Macy's policies are found to have been violated, we will take swift and decisive action.

The New York Daily News reports that another shopper, Art Palmer, came forward over the weekend. Palmer claims that "four plainclothes cops questioned him just three blocks away from the flagship store after he bought $320 worth of Polo dress shirts and ties April 24."
· Macy's responds to actor's claims that it racially profiles shoppers [NYDN]
· Fourth New York shopper, pointing at Macy's, makes racial profiling allegations [NYDN]
· More Lawsuits: Actor Suing Macy's for Discrimination [Racked NY]
· Barneys CEO Mark Lee to Meet With Brooklyn Civil Rights Group [Racked NY]