Tag: civil rights lawsuit

Barneys Agrees to Pay $525,000 to Settle Racial Profiling Allegations after Civil Rights Review

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
(Photo Credit: CHRISTIE M FARRIELLA/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

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.”

Trayon Christian, 19, says he was accused of fraud after buying a $349 Ferragano belt at Barneys in April 2013.
Trayon Christian, 19, says he was accused of fraud after buying a $349 Ferragano belt at Barneys in April 2013. (Aaron Showalter/New York Daily News)
Kayla Phillips, 21, was accused  of credit card fraud after buying a $2,500 Celine bag February 2013.
Kayla Phillips, 21, was accused  of credit card fraud after buying a $2,500 Celine bag February 2013.

In a 27-page settlement document signed by both parties Friday, Schneiderman released a series of findings from a nine-month review based on interviews with nearly a dozen complainants in the so-called shop-and-frisk case, including shoppers and former employees.

They alleged that black and Hispanic customers were unfairly targeted when they entered the pricey store at 660 Madison Ave.

The store’s own data showed that from October 2012 through October 2013, black and Hispanic shoppers were detained “at rates far greater than their percentage of the store’s customer base.”

The review began this past October in response to a series of Daily News articles exposing numerous complaints about racial profiling at Barneys and Macy’s.

Schneiderman’s review of Macy’s continues, but Barneys executives last week agreed to the settlement.

As part of the deal, Barneys agreed to pay the $525,000 in fines and legal expenses, to hire an “anti-profiling consultant” for two years, to update its detention policy and to improve training of security and sales personnel.

article by Greg A. Smith via nydailynews.com

5 Exonerated in Central Park Jogger Case Agree to Settle Suit for $40 Million

20settle-01-JP-articleLarge-v2
Lawyers, in foreground, and the five defendants in the Central Park rape case of a female jogger waiting for the ruling in February 1990 in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. (JAMES ESTRIN / THE NEW YORK TIMES)

The five men whose convictions in the brutal 1989 beating and rape of a female jogger in Central Park were later overturned have agreed to a settlement of about $40 million from New York City to resolve a bitterly fought civil rights lawsuit over their arrests and imprisonment in the sensational crime.

The agreement, reached between the city’s Law Department and the five plaintiffs, would bring to an end an extraordinary legal battle over a crime that came to symbolize a sense of lawlessness in New York, amid reports of “wilding” youths and a marauding “wolf pack” that set its sights on a 28-year-old investment banker who ran in the park many evenings after work.

The confidential deal, disclosed by a person who is not a party in the lawsuit but was told about the proposed settlement, must still be approved by the city comptroller and then by a federal judge.

The initial story of the crime, as told by the police and prosecutors, was that a band of young people, part of a larger gang that rampaged through Central Park, had mercilessly beaten and sexually assaulted the jogger. The story quickly exploded into the public psyche, fanned by politicians and sensational news reports that served to inflame racial tensions.

The five black and Hispanic men, ages 14 to 16 at the time of their arrests, claimed that incriminating statements they had given had been coerced by the authorities. The statements were ruled admissible, and the men were convicted in two separate trials in 1990.

In December 2002, an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, found DNA and other evidence that the woman had been raped and beaten not by the five teenagers but by another man, Matias Reyes, a convicted rapist and murderer who had confessed to acting alone in the attack. Concluding that the new evidence could have changed the original verdict, Mr. Morgenthau’s office joined a defense motion asking that the convictions be vacated.

If approved, the settlement would fulfill a pledge by Mayor Bill de Blasio to meet a “moral obligation to right this injustice.”

Continue reading “5 Exonerated in Central Park Jogger Case Agree to Settle Suit for $40 Million”