Barneys Accused Me Of Stealing Because I’m Black: Teen
A black teenager is searching for justice — claiming snooty Barneys staffers and New York City cops racially profiled him for bank card fraud after he bought a $349 belt.
Trayon Christian, 19, told the Daily Information he filed a lawsuit after he was targeted by staffers at Barneys’ Madison Ave. flagship retailer and detained by police as a result of they didn’t imagine a younger black man may possibly afford to buy such an costly belt.
The trend-ahead teen, who lives along with his mom in Corona, Queens, is learning engineering at the new York City Faculty of Expertise, the place he had a work-study job.
Christian mentioned his paycheck had just been direct deposited into his Chase checking account, so he went straight to Barneys on the afternoon of April 29 to purchase the dear Ferragamo belt with a silver buckle and a reversible black and white strap.
“I knew precisely what I wanted,” Christian mentioned. He’d seen the belt on lots of his favourite celebrities, including rapper Juelz Santana.
He said he’d browsed the ritzy rags at Barneys earlier than but had by no means bought anything at the store.
“It was a quick journey. I gave them my debit card, I signed my identify,” he stated.
In accordance with his lawsuit, the clerk requested Christian to indicate his ID, which he did.
“I confirmed my state ID,” he instructed The Information.
The clerk didn’t react as he signed for his purchase and left, he stated.
However he obtained no more than a block from the shop when two undercover NYPD detectives stopped him close to E. 60th St. the lawsuit mentioned.
After buying a designer belt on the flaship Barneys division store in New York, Trayon Christian was detained and then arrested by undercover cops who the teen says informed him the card had to be fraudulent because he couldn’t have afforded the Ferragamo accessory.
“They stated my card wasn’t real, it was fake. They stated someone at Barneys known as to report it,” stated Christian.
The male detectives — whose names he by no means learned — asked to see ID and look in his bag, he mentioned.
In addition they requested him if he worked, and the place.
“I confirmed them my school ID and my driver’s license,” stated Christian, who was 18 when the incident allegedly occurred.
“I stored considering, ‘Why is this happening to me ’” he said.
“The detectives have been asking me, ‘How may you afford a belt like this Where did you get this cash from ’” he stated.
He was handcuffed and taken to the 19th Precinct stationhouse, he said.
In response to his lawsuit, he was detained in a holding cell for about two hours.
He was then released together with his debit card, his belt and an apology from the police, Christian mentioned.
A spokeswoman for the NYPD denied Christian was detained for two hours, saying he was brought into the precinct at 7:04 p.m. and was allowed to leave at 7:45 p.m.
Exclusive Photo: Trayon Christian is suing Barneys and the NYPD for racial profiling and false arrest after the belt-buying incident that received him arrested and jailed for a short while.
“Mr. Christian was held in police custody for approximately forty two minutes and as soon as salvatore ferragamo velvet loafers we decided that the card was authentic, he was immediately released,” stated Inspector Kim Royster.
He was never charged, in line with his attorney.
“I was nervous the entire time, however probably not scared as a result of I knew I had accomplished nothing unsuitable,” said the teen.
After he got house, he got offended.
“I introduced the belt back to Barneys a number of days later and returned it. I got my money again, I’m not shopping there again,” he mentioned. “It’s merciless. It’s racist.”
Calls to Barneys, which is led by CEO Mark Lee, weren’t returned.
The city Legislation Department stated it hadn’t seen the court docket papers yet.
“We are awaiting a formal copy of the lawsuit and will assessment the claims upon receipt,” mentioned Elizabeth Thomas, a Legislation Division spokeswoman.
The NYPD mentioned it has gotten fifty three grand larceny complaints this yr for bank card fraud at Barneys’ Madison Ave. retailer and has made more than 47 arrests. But it’s unclear how many of those arrested were really charged with against the law and what number of have been, like Christian, released.
Plainclothes officers visit Barneys periodically due to problems with fraudulent use of cards, the NYPD stated.
The October 23, 2013 cover of the NY Every day Information.
Christian’s attorney Michael Palillo mentioned the teen, who now works at Goal, has a clear document.
“He’s never been arrested. His only crime was being a younger black man buying a $300 belt,” the lawyer said.
The student’s Facebook page shows footage of a fashion-loving teen. In some, Christian is sporting various belts with buckles encrusted with glittering “F’s” — however it’s not clear if they’re additionally Ferragamo gadgets.
He’s also seen posing for selfies in a series of baseball caps which have been color-coded to match his clothes, with a gold chain and an earring peeking out.
Christian’s mother, Selena Christian, stated she was outraged on the upscale store’s remedy of her son.
“Barneys stated his card was stolen, they mentioned he shouldn’t have that much money in his account,” said the 40-yr-old fashioned bus driver. Čile “I am shocked. He’s a good kid.”
The hardworking mother could find only one motive for her son to be singled out after he’d shown ID to the Barneys staffer.
“It’s as a result of he’s an African-American,” she said. “It’s flawed. They shouldn’t have accomplished this.”
Being publicly questioned, searched and handcuffed and then detained in a police precinct cell induced Christian “great bodily and mental distress and humiliation,” the lawsuit stated.
“His reputation and character had been injured and he was embarrassed,” the courtroom papers mentioned.
The Salvatore Ferragamo belt at the middle of Trayon Christian’s lawsuit retails for $349.
The incident was as a result of “negligence, careless[ness] and recklessness of Barneys” and the undercover detectives, the lawsuit alleges.
Christian is suing the NYPD and Barneys for unspecified damages.
With Wealthy Schapiro
Off-the-rack Barneys facts:
* Founded in 1923 as a low cost men’s retailer by Barney Pressman.
* Did not introduce a ladies’s division till 1976.
* Was originally Barney’s Clothes, after which Barneys. The store misplaced its apostrophe in 1981.
* First store outdoors of latest York was opened in Seattle in 1990.
At center, Juelz Santana — sporting a Ferragamo belt just like the one Trayon Christian had coveted — attended the 2 Chainz album launch get together at Amnesia NYC in 2012.
* The chain went bankrupt in 1996, and emerged from bankruptcy in January 1999.
* Had no CEO between 2008 and 2010, when it was run by a seven-member govt board.
* Its Madison Ave. flagship retailer is greater than 250,000 square toes.
* The Pressman household bought the chain in 2004, and it has changed arms twice since then. It’s now owned by Perry Capital.
* Lady Gaga designed a number of the flagship store’s vacation displays in 2011. Jay Z is teaming up with the shop this yr for a collection and window show titled “New York Holiday.”
* The store’s 2012 “Electric Holiday” display brought about a kerfuffle when it featured rail skinny mannequin versions of Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck. The shop famous the lanky variations of the stout stars have been featured in a dream sequence, and that Minnie “fortunately awakens as her normal self.”
* * *
Meet the boss:
* Barneys CEO Mark Lee, 50, is a San Francisco native.
* Moved to New York in 1980 as an performing scholar at New York College.
Barneys CEO Mark Lee. Calls to the division retailer searching for remark weren’t instantly returned.
* First fashion gig was in 1984 as an assistant buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue. Has since worked at Giorgio Armani, Yves St. Laurent and headed Gucci before touchdown Barneys gig.
* Salary is reportedly seven figures, with fairness in the corporate.
* Took over the then-struggling chain in 2010 and has made it worthwhile as soon as again, with a reported $800 million in gross sales in 2012.
* As CEO, has focused on streamlining the store’s model and making it greater-finish.
Updated: Barneys CEO releases assertion
Barneys New York believes that no customer should have the unacceptable expertise described in recent media reviews, and we offer our sincere regret and deepest apologies.
Further to our assertion of yesterday, we wish to reinforce that Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any type of discrimination. We’re a powerful proponent of equal rights and equal treatment for all human beings. Our mission is to make sure that all clients receive the best-high quality service—without exception.
To this end, we are conducting an intensive overview of our practices and procedures as they relate to those issues to make sure that they mirror our continued dedication to fairness and equality. To lead this assessment, we’ve got retained a civil rights expert, Michael Yaki, who additionally serves on the U.S. Fee on Civil Rights. The Fee has been the nation’s watchdog for civil rights for greater than 50 years. Mr. Yaki might be supplied with unrestricted entry to all aspects of our retailer operations.