Barneys Accused Me Of Stealing Because I’m Black: Teen
A black teenager is shopping for justice — claiming snooty Barneys staffers and New York Metropolis 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 store and detained by police as a result of they didn’t believe a younger black man could probably afford to buy such an expensive belt.
The vogue-ahead teen, who lives along with his mom in Corona, Queens, is learning engineering at the new York Metropolis College of Know-how, the place he had a work-examine 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 purchase 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 a whole lot of his favorite celebrities, including rapper Juelz Santana.
He mentioned he’d browsed the ritzy rags at Barneys before however had by no means bought something at the shop.
“It was a quick journey. I gave them my debit card, I signed my identify,” he mentioned.
In accordance with his lawsuit, the clerk requested Christian to show his ID, which he did.
“I confirmed my state ID,” he informed The News.
The clerk didn’t react as he signed for his purchase and left, he mentioned.
But he acquired no 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 because he could not have afforded the Ferragamo accessory.
“They mentioned my card wasn’t real, it was pretend. They stated somebody at Barneys known as to report it,” mentioned Christian.
The male detectives — whose names he never realized — asked to see ID and look in his bag, he said.
Additionally they requested him if he worked, and where.
“I showed them my college ID and my driver’s license,” said Christian, who was 18 when the incident allegedly occurred.
“I kept pondering, ‘Why is this taking place to me ’” he said.
“The detectives were asking me, ‘How may 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 launched 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 Photograph: 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.
Milan_Fashion_Week“Mr. Christian was held in police custody for roughly forty two minutes and as soon as we determined that the card was authentic, he was immediately launched,” mentioned Inspector Kim Royster.
He was never charged, in accordance with his legal professional.
“I was nervous the entire time, but not really scared because I knew I had executed nothing wrong,” stated the teen.
After he bought home, he received angry.
“I introduced the belt back to Barneys a number of days later and returned it. I bought my money again, I’m not procuring 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 town Law Division said it hadn’t seen the courtroom papers yet.
“We are awaiting a formal copy of the lawsuit and will evaluate the claims upon receipt,” stated Elizabeth Thomas, a Law Division spokeswoman.
The NYPD said it has gotten fifty three grand larceny complaints this yr for bank card fraud at Barneys’ Madison Ave. retailer and has made more than forty seven arrests. However it’s unclear how a lot of these arrested were really charged with a crime and what number of were, like Christian, launched.
Plainclothes officers visit Barneys periodically due to problems with fraudulent use of playing cards, the NYPD said.
The October 23, 2013 cover of the NY Day by day News.
Christian’s legal professional 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 man shopping for a $300 belt,” the lawyer said.
The student’s Fb page reveals footage of a fashion-loving teen. In some, Christian is sporting numerous belts with buckles encrusted with glittering “F’s” — but it’s not clear if they are also Ferragamo gadgets.
He’s also seen posing for selfies in a sequence 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, mentioned she was outraged at the upscale store’s treatment of her son.
“Barneys said his card was stolen, they stated he shouldn’t have that a lot cash in his account,” said the forty-yr-old-fashioned bus driver. “I am shocked. He’s a very good kid.”
The hardworking mother might find just one cause for her son to be singled out after he’d proven ID to the Barneys staffer.
“It’s because he’s an African-American,” she mentioned. “It’s incorrect. They shouldn’t have achieved this.”
Being publicly questioned, searched and handcuffed and then detained in a police precinct cell caused Christian “great physical and psychological distress and humiliation,” the lawsuit mentioned.
“His status and character have been injured and he was embarrassed,” the courtroom papers mentioned.
The Salvatore Ferragamo belt at the center 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 Rich Schapiro
Off-the-rack Barneys facts:
* Based in 1923 as a discount men’s retailer by Barney Pressman.
* Didn’t introduce a women’s division till 1976.
* Was initially Barney’s Clothes, after which Barneys. The shop lost its apostrophe in 1981.
* First store exterior of recent York was opened in Seattle in 1990.
At middle, Juelz Santana — sporting a Ferragamo belt just like the one Trayon Christian had coveted — attended the 2 Chainz album launch social gathering at Amnesia NYC in 2012.
* The chain went bankrupt in 1996, and emerged from bankruptcy in January salvatore ferragamo london bond street 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 square toes.
* The Pressman family bought the chain in 2004, and it has changed fingers twice since then. It’s now owned by Perry Capital.
* Lady Gaga designed some of the flagship store’s holiday shows in 2011. Jay Z is teaming up with the store this year for a set and window display titled “New York Holiday.”
* The shop’s 2012 “Electric Holiday” display prompted a kerfuffle when it featured rail thin mannequin variations of Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck. The shop famous 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 appearing student at New York College.
Barneys CEO Mark Lee. Calls to the division store seeking comment weren’t immediately returned.
* First vogue 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 fairness in the corporate.
* Took over the then-struggling chain in 2010 and has made it profitable once once more, with a reported $800 million in sales in 2012.
* As CEO, has centered on streamlining the shop’s brand and making it increased-end.
Updated: Barneys CEO releases statement
Barneys New York believes that no customer should have the unacceptable expertise described in recent media studies, and we provide our honest remorse and deepest apologies.
Further 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 remedy for all human beings. Our mission is to ensure that every one clients receive the best-high quality service—without exception.
To this end, we’re conducting an intensive evaluation of our practices and procedures as they relate to those matters to make sure that they reflect our continued dedication to fairness and equality. To guide this review, we now have 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 more than 50 years. Mr. Yaki will likely be supplied with unrestricted access to all facets of our store operations.