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Barneys Accused Me Of Stealing Because I’m Black: Teen
A black teenager is searching for justice — claiming snooty Barneys staffers and New York Metropolis cops racially profiled him for bank card fraud after he bought a $349 belt.
Trayon Christian, 19, advised the Daily News he filed a lawsuit after he was targeted by staffers at Barneys’ Madison Ave. flagship store and detained by police as a result of they didn’t believe a young black man may presumably afford to purchase such an expensive belt.
The fashion-forward teen, who lives along with his mother in Corona, Queens, is studying engineering at the new York Metropolis Faculty of Technology, the place he had a work-study job.
Christian mentioned his paycheck had just been direct deposited into his Chase bank account, so he went straight to Barneys on the afternoon of April 29 to purchase the expensive Ferragamo belt with a silver buckle and a reversible black and white strap.
“I knew exactly what I wished,” Christian stated. He’d seen the belt on a variety of his favourite celebrities, including rapper Juelz Santana.
He stated he’d browsed the ritzy rags at Barneys earlier than however had by no means purchased anything at the store.
“It was a fast trip. I gave them my debit card, I signed my identify,” he stated.
Based on his lawsuit, the clerk requested Christian to indicate his ID, which he did.
“I showed my state ID,” he instructed The News.
The clerk didn’t react as he signed for his buy and left, he said.
However he acquired not more than a block from the store when two undercover NYPD detectives stopped him near E. 60th St.the lawsuit stated.
After buying a designer belt at the ferragamo dash slides flaship Barneys division store in New York, Trayon Christian was detained and then arrested by undercover cops who the teen says told him the card needed to be fraudulent because he couldn’t have afforded the Ferragamo accessory.
“They said my card wasn’t actual, it was faux. They mentioned someone at Barneys referred to as to report it,” stated Christian.
The male detectives — whose names he by no means discovered — asked to see ID and look in his bag, he stated.
Additionally they asked him if he labored, 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 kept pondering, ‘Why is that this occurring to me ’” he stated.
“The detectives were asking me, ‘How might you afford a belt like this The place did you get this money from ’” he said.
He was handcuffed and taken to the nineteenth Precinct stationhouse, he said.
Based on 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 said.
A spokeswoman for the NYPD denied Christian was detained for 2 hours, saying he was brought into the precinct at 7:04 p.m. and was allowed to go away at 7:Forty five p.m.
Unique Picture: 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 time.
“Mr. Christian was held in police custody for approximately forty two minutes and as quickly as we decided that the card was authentic, he was instantly launched,” stated Inspector Kim Royster.
He was by no means charged, according to his legal professional.
“I was nervous the whole time, but not really scared because I knew I had accomplished nothing wrong,” said the teen.
After he received dwelling, he acquired angry.
“I introduced the belt back to Barneys just a few days later and returned it. I acquired my cash back, I’m not purchasing there once more,” he mentioned. “It’s merciless. It’s racist.”
Calls to Barneys, which is led by CEO Mark Lee, were not returned.
The town Legislation Department stated it hadn’t seen the court papers but.
“We are awaiting a formal copy of the lawsuit and can evaluate the claims upon receipt,” said Elizabeth Thomas, a Regulation Department spokeswoman.
The NYPD mentioned it has gotten fifty three grand larceny complaints this 12 months for credit card fraud at Barneys’ Madison Ave. store and has made more than 47 arrests. But it’s unclear how lots of those arrested have been really charged with against the law and what number of have been, like Christian, released.
Plainclothes officers visit Barneys periodically because of issues with fraudulent use of playing cards, the NYPD mentioned.
The October 23, 2013 cowl of the NY Daily News.
Christian’s lawyer Michael Palillo said the teen, who now ferragamo dash slides works at Target, has a clean record.
“He’s never been arrested. His solely crime was being a younger black man buying a $300 belt,” the lawyer mentioned.
The student’s Facebook page shows footage of a trend-loving teen. In some, Christian is sporting varied belts with buckles encrusted with glittering “F’s” — but it’s not clear if they are additionally Ferragamo gadgets.
He’s additionally seen posing for selfies in a series of baseball caps which have been coloration-coded to match his clothes, with a gold chain and an earring peeking out.
Christian’s mother, Selena Christian, said she was outraged at the upscale store’s remedy of her son.
“Barneys mentioned his card was stolen, they stated he shouldn’t have that much cash in his account,” mentioned the 40-12 months-old skool bus driver. “I am shocked. He’s a very good child.”
The hardworking mother might discover just one cause for her son to be singled out after he’d shown ID to the Barneys staffer.
“It’s because he’s an African-American,” she said. “It’s incorrect. They shouldn’t have done this.”
Being publicly questioned, searched and handcuffed and then detained in a police precinct cell caused Christian “great bodily and mental distress and humiliation,” the lawsuit mentioned.
“His repute and character had been injured and he was embarrassed,” the court docket papers stated.
The Salvatore Ferragamo belt at the middle of Trayon Christian’s lawsuit retails for $349.
The incident was due to the “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 Rich Schapiro
Off-the-rack Barneys info:
* Founded in 1923 as a discount men’s store by Barney Pressman.
* Did not introduce a women’s department until 1976.
* Was initially Barney’s Clothes, and then Barneys. The shop lost its apostrophe in 1981.
* First store outdoors of latest York was opened in Seattle in 1990.
At middle, Juelz Santana — wearing a Ferragamo belt like the one Trayon Christian had coveted — attended the 2 Chainz album release party 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 government board.
* Its Madison Ave. flagship retailer is greater than 250,000 square ft.
* The Pressman family offered the chain in 2004, and it has modified fingers twice since then. It’s now owned by Perry Capital.
* Lady Gaga designed some of the flagship retailer’s vacation displays in 2011. Jay Z is teaming up with the shop this 12 months for a collection and window show titled “New York Vacation.”
* The shop’s 2012 “Electric Vacation” show caused a kerfuffle when it featured rail thin model versions of Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck. The store famous the lanky versions of the stout stars had 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 acting scholar at New York College.
Barneys CEO Mark Lee. Calls to the department store looking for comment weren’t instantly returned.
* First trend gig was in 1984 as an assistant buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue. Has since worked at Giorgio Armani, Yves St. Laurent and headed Gucci earlier than landing Barneys gig.
* Salary is reportedly seven figures, with equity in the company.
* Took over the then-struggling chain in 2010 and has made it worthwhile once again, with a reported $800 million in sales in 2012.
* As CEO, has focused on streamlining the shop’s brand and making it larger-finish.
Up to date: Barneys CEO releases assertion
Barneys New York believes that no customer should have the unacceptable experience described in current media experiences, and we offer our sincere remorse and deepest apologies.
Additional to our statement of yesterday, we wish to reinforce that Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any type of discrimination. We’re a robust proponent of equal rights and equal therapy for all human beings. Our mission is to make sure that each one prospects obtain the best-quality service—without exception.
To this end, we are conducting an intensive assessment of our practices and procedures as they relate to these matters to make sure that they mirror our continued dedication to fairness and equality. To guide this assessment, we have now retained a civil rights professional, Michael Yaki, who also serves on the U.S. Fee on Civil Rights. The Commission has been the nation’s watchdog for civil rights for more than 50 years. Mr. Yaki will be provided with unrestricted access to all aspects of our store operations.