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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 purchased a $349 belt.

Trayon Christian, 19, informed the Day by day Information 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 consider a young black man may probably afford to buy such an costly belt.

The style-forward teen, who lives with his mother in Corona, Queens, is finding out engineering at the new York Metropolis School of Expertise, the place he had a work-examine job.

Christian said 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 buy the pricey Ferragamo belt with a silver buckle and a reversible black and white strap.

“I knew exactly what I wanted,” Christian mentioned. He’d seen the belt on loads of his favorite celebrities, including rapper Juelz Santana.

He said he’d browsed the ritzy rags at Barneys before but had by no means purchased anything at the shop.
“It was a fast trip. I gave them my debit card, I signed my identify,” he stated.

In line with his lawsuit, the clerk asked Christian to point out his ID, which he did.
“I showed my state ID,” he told The Information.

The clerk didn’t react as he signed for his purchase and left, he stated.
However he got not more than a block from the shop when two undercover NYPD detectives stopped him close to E. 60th St.the lawsuit stated.

After shopping for a designer belt at the flaship Barneys department retailer in New York, Trayon Christian was detained after which 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 mentioned my card wasn’t actual, it was faux. They mentioned someone at Barneys called to report it,” stated Christian.

The male detectives — whose names he by no means discovered — requested to see ID and look in his bag, he said.

They also asked him if he worked, and the place.
“I showed them my school ID and my driver’s license,” said Christian, who was 18 when the incident allegedly occurred.

“I stored thinking, ‘Why is this taking place to me ’” he stated.
“The detectives have been asking me, ‘How could you afford a belt like this Where did you get this cash from ’” he mentioned.

He was handcuffed and taken to the 19th Precinct stationhouse, he said.
In keeping with 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 Picture: Trayon Christian is suing Barneys and the NYPD for racial profiling and false arrest after the belt-shopping for incident that acquired him arrested and jailed for a short while.

“Mr. Christian was held in police custody for roughly forty two minutes and as soon as we determined that the card was genuine, he was immediately launched,” mentioned Inspector Kim Royster.

He was never charged, in response to his attorney.
“I was nervous the whole time, however not likely scared because I knew I had accomplished nothing wrong,” stated the teen.

After he bought house, he got offended.
“I introduced the belt again to Barneys a couple of days later and returned it. I bought my money again, I’m not shopping there once more,” he stated. “It’s merciless. It’s racist.”

Calls to Barneys, which is led by CEO Mark Lee, were not returned.
The city Regulation Department said it hadn’t seen the court docket papers yet.

“We are awaiting a formal copy of the lawsuit and can evaluate the claims upon receipt,” said Elizabeth Thomas, a Law Department spokeswoman.

The NYPD mentioned it has gotten 53 grand larceny complaints this 12 months for credit card fraud at Barneys’ Madison Ave. retailer and has made greater than forty seven arrests. But it’s unclear how many of those arrested had been really charged with against the law and how many had been, like Christian, released.

Plainclothes officers go to Barneys periodically due to issues with fraudulent use of playing cards, the NYPD stated.

The October 23, 2013 cowl of the NY Daily Information.
Christian’s attorney Michael Palillo said the teen, who now works at Goal, has a clean file.

“He’s never been arrested. His solely crime was being a young black guy buying a $300 belt,” the lawyer said.

The student’s Fb page shows pictures of a style-loving teen. In some, Christian is sporting various belts with buckles encrusted with glittering “F’s” — but it’s not clear if they’re additionally Ferragamo items.

He’s additionally seen posing for selfies in a sequence of baseball caps that have been color-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 therapy of her son.

“Barneys said his card was stolen, they said he shouldn’t have that much money in his account,” stated the 40-12 months-old school bus driver. “I am shocked. He’s a great kid.”

The hardworking mom might discover just one motive 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 stated. “It’s unsuitable. They shouldn’t have executed this.”

Being publicly questioned, searched and handcuffed after which detained in a police precinct cell brought on Christian “great bodily and mental distress and humiliation,” the lawsuit stated.

“His fame and character had been injured and he was embarrassed,” the courtroom papers said.
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

[email protected]
Off-the-rack Barneys information:

* Based in 1923 as a discount males’s retailer by Barney Pressman.
* Did not introduce a girls’s division till 1976.

* Was initially Barney’s Clothes, after which Barneys. The shop lost its apostrophe in 1981.
* First store exterior of latest York was opened in salvatore ferragamo shoes handmade Seattle in 1990.

At heart, Juelz Santana — sporting a Ferragamo belt just 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 store is greater than 250,000 square toes.
* The Pressman household sold the chain in 2004, and it has modified arms twice since then. It is now owned by Perry Capital.

* Lady Gaga designed some of the flagship retailer’s holiday displays in 2011. Jay Z is teaming up with the shop this year for a collection and window show titled “New York Vacation.”

* The store’s 2012 “Electric Holiday” show brought on a kerfuffle when it featured rail thin model versions of Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck. The shop noted the lanky versions of the stout stars have been featured in a dream sequence, and that Minnie “fortunately awakens as her regular 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 department store looking for remark were not instantly returned.
* First fashion 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 landing Barneys gig.

* Wage is reportedly seven figures, with equity in the corporate.
* Took over the then-struggling chain in 2010 and has made it profitable once again, with a reported $800 million in sales in 2012.

* As CEO, has targeted on streamlining the shop’s model and making it larger-end.
Updated: Barneys CEO releases statement

Barneys New York believes that no customer ought to have the unacceptable experience described in recent media stories, and we offer our honest regret and deepest apologies.

Further to our statement of yesterday, we need to reinforce that Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. We are a robust proponent of equal rights and equal treatment for all human beings. Our mission is to make sure that all prospects receive the very best-quality service—without exception.

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To this finish, we’re conducting a thorough evaluate of our practices and procedures as they relate to these issues to ensure that they replicate our continued commitment to fairness and equality. To guide this review, we’ve got retained a civil rights knowledgeable, Michael Yaki, who also serves on the U.S. Vanessa_Moody Fee on Civil Rights. The Fee has been the nation’s watchdog for civil rights for more than 50 years. Mr. Yaki will be provided with unrestricted entry to all aspects of our retailer operations.

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