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Barneys Accused Me Of Stealing Because I am Black: Teen
A black teenager is shopping for justice — claiming snooty Barneys staffers and New York City cops racially profiled him for credit card fraud after he purchased a $349 belt.
Trayon Christian, 19, advised the Each day News he filed a lawsuit after he was targeted by staffers at Barneys’ Madison Ave. flagship retailer and detained by police because they didn’t consider a younger black man might presumably afford to buy such an expensive belt.
The style-ahead teen, who lives along with his mother in Corona, Queens, is finding out engineering at the brand new York Metropolis Faculty of Expertise, the place he had a work-examine job.
Christian stated his paycheck had simply 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 plenty of his favorite celebrities, including rapper Juelz Santana.
He stated he’d browsed the ritzy rags at Barneys earlier than but had never purchased anything at the store.
“It was a fast trip. I gave them my debit card, I signed my name,” he stated.
Based on his lawsuit, the clerk asked Christian to indicate his ID, which he did.
“I confirmed my state ID,” he instructed The News.
The clerk didn’t react as he signed for his buy and left, he said.
However he received not more than a block from the store when two undercover NYPD detectives stopped him near E. 60th St.the lawsuit stated.
After shopping for a designer belt at the flaship Barneys department store in New York, Trayon Christian was detained and then arrested by undercover cops who the teen says informed him the card needed to be fraudulent as a result of he couldn’t have afforded the Ferragamo accessory.
“They said my card wasn’t actual, it was faux. They said someone at Barneys referred to as to report it,” mentioned Christian.
The male detectives — whose names he never discovered — asked to see ID and look in his bag, he said.
They also asked him if he worked, and where.
“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 this occurring to me ’” he stated.
“The detectives were asking me, ‘How could you afford a belt like this Where did you get this cash from ’” he said.
He was handcuffed and taken to the 19th Precinct stationhouse, he mentioned.
In accordance with his lawsuit, he was detained in a holding cell for about two hours.
He was then released 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 depart at 7:Forty five p.m.
Unique Photo: Trayon Christian is suing Barneys and the NYPD for racial profiling and false arrest after the belt-buying incident that got him arrested and jailed for a short time.
“Mr. Christian was held in police custody for roughly 42 minutes and as quickly as we determined that the card was authentic, he was immediately launched,” mentioned Inspector Kim Royster.
He was by no means charged, in response to his attorney.
“I was nervous the entire time, however not really scared because I knew I had completed nothing unsuitable,” stated the teen.
After he received house, he got indignant.
“I introduced the belt again to Barneys a few days later and returned it. I bought my cash again, salvatore ferragamo boutique black slingbacks 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 town Legislation Department said it hadn’t seen the courtroom papers yet.
“We are awaiting a formal copy of the lawsuit and can assessment the claims upon receipt,” mentioned Elizabeth Thomas, a Law Department spokeswoman.
The NYPD stated it has gotten 53 grand larceny complaints this year for credit card fraud at Barneys’ Madison Ave. retailer and has made greater than forty seven arrests. However it’s unclear how lots of these salvatore ferragamo boutique black slingbacks arrested have been really charged with against the law and how many have been, like Christian, launched.
Plainclothes officers go to Barneys periodically because of issues with fraudulent use of cards, the NYPD said.
The October 23, 2013 cover of the NY Every day News.
Christian’s lawyer Michael Palillo mentioned the teen, who now works at Target, has a clear report.
“He’s by no means been arrested. His solely crime was being a younger black guy buying a $300 belt,” the lawyer mentioned.
The student’s Fb web page exhibits photos of a style-loving teen. In some, Christian is sporting numerous belts with buckles encrusted with glittering “F’s” — however it’s not clear if they’re additionally Ferragamo objects.
He’s additionally seen posing for selfies in a series of baseball caps which were colour-coded to match his clothes, with a gold chain and an earring peeking out.
Christian’s mother, Selena Christian, mentioned she was outraged on the upscale store’s remedy of her son.
“Barneys mentioned his card was stolen, they said he shouldn’t have that much cash in his account,” stated the 40-yr-old style bus driver. “I am shocked. He’s a very good kid.”
The hardworking mother might discover only one reason 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 accomplished this.”
Being publicly questioned, searched and handcuffed and then detained in a police precinct cell prompted Christian “great bodily and psychological distress and humiliation,” the lawsuit mentioned.
“His repute and character had been injured and he was embarrassed,” the court papers stated.
The Salvatore Ferragamo belt at the center 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 facts:
* Founded in 1923 as a low cost males’s retailer by Barney Pressman.
* Did not introduce a ladies’s department until 1976.
* Was initially Barney’s Clothes, and then Barneys. The shop misplaced its apostrophe in 1981.
* First store outdoors of latest York was opened in Seattle in 1990.
At middle, Juelz Santana — wearing a Ferragamo belt just like the one Trayon Christian had coveted — attended the 2 Chainz album launch celebration 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 sq. feet.
* The Pressman household offered the chain in 2004, and it has changed palms twice since then. It is now owned by Perry Capital.
* Lady Gaga designed among the flagship retailer’s holiday displays in 2011. Jay Z is teaming up with the store this 12 months for a group and window show titled “New York Holiday.”
* The store’s 2012 “Electric Vacation” show brought about a kerfuffle when it featured rail thin model versions of Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck. The shop famous the lanky variations of the stout stars were 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 appearing pupil at New York University.
Barneys CEO Mark Lee. Calls to the division store searching for remark were not immediately returned.
* First trend gig was in 1984 as an assistant purchaser for Saks Fifth Avenue. Has since labored at Giorgio Armani, Yves St. Laurent and headed Gucci earlier than touchdown Barneys gig.
* Wage is reportedly seven figures, with equity in the corporate.
* Took over the then-struggling chain in 2010 and has made it worthwhile as soon as once more, with a reported $800 million in gross sales in 2012.
* As CEO, has focused on streamlining the store’s brand and making it higher-finish.
Up to date: Barneys CEO releases statement
Barneys New York believes that no customer ought to have the unacceptable expertise described in current media reports, and we provide our honest regret and deepest apologies.
Additional to our assertion of yesterday, we need to reinforce that Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any type of discrimination. We’re a powerful proponent of equal rights and equal remedy for all human beings. Our mission is to make sure that all prospects receive the highest-quality service—without exception.
To this end, we are conducting a thorough evaluation of our practices and procedures as they relate to these issues to ensure that they reflect our continued dedication to fairness and equality. To lead this assessment, now we have retained a civil rights professional, Michael Yaki, who additionally serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Fee has been the nation’s watchdog for civil rights for greater than 50 years. Mr. Yaki shall be supplied with unrestricted access to all facets of our store operations.