Barneys has reached a settlement with a Black teen who was racially profiled in the luxury department store and wrongfully arrested by the NYPD.
Pix11reports Trayon Christian was awarded $45,000 from the company this week. The incident happened in April 2013, when the then 19-year-old went to the Manhattan location to purchase a $348 Ferragamo belt. Barneys employees allegedly believed he bought the belt with a fraudulent credit card.
Christian was approached by NYPD officers and subjected to a reported “stop-and-frisk” procedure before he was arrested. His attorney, Michael Palillo, claims the NYPD was called by personnel, however police say there were officers already present in the store.
Following Christian’s encounter, Barneys faced intense scrutiny and was fined $525 million for racially profiling Black and Latino shoppers. In Aug. 2014, Christian shared his thoughts on the matter with Pix11:
“The settlement was in the best interest of the city,” a spokesperson for the city law department told PIX11 News.
“It made me feel much better, like [they’re] actually on top of them about something.”
That was Trayon Christian’s reaction to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s announcement Monday morning that the state had fined Barneys $525 million after investigators found that the store had indeed profiled black and Latino shoppers.
When asked if today’s ruling makes it a little bit easier? Christian said, “Yeah, it does, just a little bit.”
Details regarding Christian’s own lawsuit remain private.
Macy’s is coughing up $650,000 to settle accusations of racial profiling against its store in New York City’s Herald Square, the Associated Press reports.
The retail giant signed on to an agreement on Tuesday with the attorney general of New York. Macy’s agrees to adopt new policies against profiling, train its employees, treat customer complaints seriously and better record any detentions made, the newswire reports.
Macy’s is also required to post a “customer’s bill of rights” in English and Spanish in all of its stores in the state as well as on its website.
“It is absolutely unacceptable—and it’s illegal—for anyone in New York to be treated like a criminal simply because of the color of their skin,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in light of the settlement.
According to AP, the investigation into the store’s treatments of its customers of color began in February 2013, following several complaints from black and Latino customers, among others. Some of the complaints dated back as far as 2007, detailing customers’ claims they were detained at the stores even though they had not stolen or tried to steal anything.
Some customers who were not fluent in English were not allowed to make phone calls, were denied an interpreter and were made to sign trespass notices that they did not understand, AP notes.
“To be clear, our company’s policies strictly prohibit any form of discrimination or racial profiling, and any occurrence of such behavior will not be tolerated in our organization,” Macy’s reiterated in its own statement. “Moving forward, our company will be initiating a series of measures including enhanced training and education for our loss prevention and sales associates. We also will be adopting an expanded role for our security monitor to help ensure that we have the right policies and procedures in place, and that we are constantly reviewing our compliance with them.”
Barneys New York has agreed to pay $525,000 to settle allegations that the upscale retailer deliberately targeted minorities entering its Madison Ave. flagship store.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigators heard from customers and former employees that a pattern of racial profiling began last year when the high-end store tried to crack down on a dramatic spike in shoplifting and credit card fraud.
Complainants told Schneiderman’s civil rights division that the store’s security team — known as the “loss prevention unit” — made a habit of keeping watch over black and Hispanic shoppers in disproportionate numbers.
“This agreement will correct a number of wrongs,” said Schneiderman, “both by fixing past policies and by monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employees to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated.”