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January 17, 2015
Barneys Accused Me Of Stealing As a result of I am Black: Teen
A black teenager is shopping 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, told the Daily Information he filed a lawsuit after he was focused 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 style-ahead teen, who lives with his mother in Corona, Queens, is studying engineering at the brand new York City Faculty of Expertise, where he had a work-study job.
Christian said his paycheck had simply been direct deposited into his Chase checking account, so he went straight to Barneys on the afternoon of April 29 to buy the dear Ferragamo belt with a silver buckle and a reversible black and white strap.
“I knew precisely what I needed,” Christian stated. He’d seen the belt on plenty of his favorite celebrities, together with rapper Juelz Santana.
He mentioned he’d browsed the ritzy rags at Barneys before however had by no means purchased anything at the store.
“It was a quick trip. I gave them my debit card, I signed my name,” he said.
According to his lawsuit, the clerk requested Christian to show his ID, which he did.
“I showed my state ID,” he advised The News.
The clerk didn’t react as he signed for his purchase and left, he mentioned.
However he received not more than a block from the store when two undercover NYPD detectives stopped him near E. 60th St.the lawsuit said.
After buying a designer belt on the flaship Barneys division retailer in New York, Trayon Christian was detained after which arrested by undercover cops who the teen says instructed him the card needed to be fraudulent because he couldn’t have afforded the Ferragamo accessory.
“They mentioned my card wasn’t real, it was fake. They mentioned somebody at Barneys known as to report it,” mentioned Christian.
The male detectives — whose names he by no means learned — asked to see ID and look in his bag, he said.
Additionally they asked him if he labored, and the place.
“I showed them my college ID and my driver’s license,” said Christian, who was 18 when the incident allegedly occurred.
“I kept thinking, ‘Why is that this happening to me ’” he mentioned.
“The detectives had been asking me, ‘How might you afford a belt like this The place did you get this money from ’” he mentioned.
He was handcuffed and taken to the 19th Precinct stationhouse, he stated.
According to his lawsuit, he was detained in a holding cell for about two hours.
He was then launched 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 introduced into the precinct at 7:04 p.m. and was allowed to leave at 7:45 p.m.
Exclusive Photograph: 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 while.
“Mr. Christian was held in police custody for roughly 42 minutes and as soon as we determined that the card was authentic, he was immediately released,” mentioned Inspector Kim Royster.
He was never charged, based on his attorney.
“I was nervous the whole time, but not really scared because I knew I had completed nothing flawed,” said the teen.
After he acquired house, he got angry.
“I introduced the belt back to Barneys a number of days later and returned it. I acquired my money again, I’m not shopping there again,” he stated. “It’s merciless. It’s racist.”
Calls to Barneys, which is led by CEO Mark Lee, were not returned.
Town Legislation Department mentioned it hadn’t seen the court papers but.
“We are awaiting a formal copy of the lawsuit and can evaluate the claims upon receipt,” mentioned Elizabeth Thomas, a Legislation Division spokeswoman.
The NYPD stated it has gotten 53 grand larceny complaints this year for credit card fraud at Barneys’ Madison Ave. store and has made more than 47 arrests. However it’s unclear how lots of these arrested have been really charged with against the law and how many had been, like Christian, released.
Plainclothes officers go to Barneys periodically because of issues with fraudulent use of cards, the NYPD mentioned.
The October 23, 2013 cowl of the NY Every day News.
Christian’s lawyer Michael Palillo said the teen, who now works at Goal, has a clean document.
“He’s by no means been arrested. His solely crime was being a younger black man buying a $300 belt,” the lawyer mentioned.
The student’s Facebook page shows pictures of a trend-loving teen. In some, Christian is sporting various belts with buckles encrusted with glittering “F’s” — but it’s not clear if they are additionally Ferragamo items.
He’s additionally seen posing for selfies in a collection of baseball caps which were coloration-coded to match his clothes, with a gold chain and an earring peeking out.
Christian’s mom, Selena Christian, mentioned she was outraged on the upscale store’s remedy of her son.
“Barneys said his card was stolen, they said he shouldn’t have that much money in his account,” stated the 40-yr-old style bus driver. “I am shocked. He’s a good child.”
The hardworking mom could find just one motive for her son to be singled out after he’d proven ID to the Barneys staffer.
“It’s as a result of he’s an African-American,” she mentioned. “It’s unsuitable. They shouldn’t have completed this.”
Being publicly questioned, searched and handcuffed after which detained in a police precinct cell caused Christian “great physical and psychological distress and humiliation,” the lawsuit stated.
“His status and character have been injured and he was embarrassed,” the court docket papers stated.
The Salvatore Ferragamo belt at the center of Trayon Christian’s lawsuit retails for $349.
The incident was because of 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 information:
* Founded in 1923 as a low cost men’s store by Barney Pressman.
* Did not introduce a girls’s department until 1976.
* Was originally Barney’s Clothes, and then Barneys. The store lost its apostrophe in 1981.
* First retailer outside of new York was opened in Seattle in 1990.
At center, Juelz Santana — sporting a Ferragamo belt like the one Trayon Christian had coveted — attended the 2 Chainz album release social gathering 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 more than 250,000 sq. feet.
* The Pressman family bought the chain in 2004, and it has modified arms twice since then. It’s now owned by Perry Capital.
* Lady Gaga designed some of the flagship retailer’s holiday shows in 2011. Jay Z is teaming up with the store this 12 months for a set and window show titled “New York Vacation.”
* The shop’s 2012 “Electric Holiday” show induced a kerfuffle when it featured rail thin model versions of Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck. The shop noted the lanky variations of the stout stars had been featured in a dream sequence, and that Minnie “happily 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 pupil at New York College.
Barneys CEO Mark Lee. Calls to the department store looking for comment weren’t immediately returned.
* First trend gig was ruby red ferragamo shoes in 1984 as an assistant buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue. Has since worked at Giorgio Armani, Yves St. Laurent and headed Gucci before landing Barneys gig.
* Wage is reportedly seven figures, ruby red ferragamo shoes 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 larger-end.
Up to date: Barneys CEO releases statement
Barneys New York believes that no customer ought to have the unacceptable experience described in current media experiences, and we provide our sincere remorse and deepest apologies.
Additional to our statement of yesterday, we need to reinforce that Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any type of discrimination. We are a powerful proponent of equal rights and equal treatment for all human beings. Our mission is to make sure that all customers obtain the highest-high quality service—without exception.
To this finish, we are conducting a thorough overview of our practices and procedures as they relate to those issues to ensure that they replicate our continued dedication to fairness and equality. To steer this assessment, we’ve retained a civil rights skilled, Michael Yaki, who additionally serves on the U.S. Fee on Civil Rights. The Commission has been the nation’s watchdog for civil rights for greater than 50 years. Mr. Yaki might be provided with unrestricted entry to all elements of our store operations.