Macy’s joins Barneys in brewing NYC ‘shop-and-frisk’ scandal

A sign is seen outside a Macy's retail store in San Francisco, California. Credit: Reuters
A sign is seen outside a Macy’s retail store in San Francisco, California.
Credit: Reuters

New York’s civil rights leaders on Saturday angrily decried the city’s brewing “shop-and-frisk” scandal, in which two major retailers stand accused of profiling black shoppers who say they were detained by police after buying luxury items.

“We’ve gone from stop-and-frisk to shop-and-frisk,” said Reverend Al Sharpton, president of National Action Network, alluding to a police crime-fighting tactic that critics say amounts to racial profiling.

A Network representative is set to meet next week with Mark Lee, the chief executive of Barneys New York, following allegations from two black shoppers that they were detained by New York police and accused of fraud after buying luxury items at Barneys.

In a third such allegation made this week, actor Rob Brown of HBO’s “Treme” told the New York Daily News on Friday that he had been “paraded” through a midtown Mahattan Macy’s in handcuffs in June, and held for an hour, after purchasing a $1,350 gold Movado watch for his mother.

Brown said he came forward after reading news accounts of others who had had similar experiences at Barneys.

Brown told the newspaper he “implored” cops to check his ID, but “they kept telling me, ‘Your card is fake. You’re going to jail.’”

Retailer Barneys New York publicly apologized this week, and Macy’s Inc said late on Friday that it is investigating Brown’s allegations.

Police officials have said that grand larceny – which includes shoplifting and credit card fraud – are top priorities in midtown Manhattan’s busy retail districts. An NYPD spokesman was not immediately available to comment on Saturday.

Grand larceny accounts for more than 75 percent of all crime in the precincts that cover the two retailers, according to New York Police Department crime statistics.

Brooklyn nursing student Kayla Phillips, 21, said this week that she was surrounded by four undercover police officers in February after leaving Barneys with a $2,500 Celine handbag she had purchased. She plans to sue, said her lawyer Kareem Vessup.

And Trayon Christian, 19, said he was detained for two hours and questioned by New York police in April after buying a $349 Ferragamo belt at Barneys.

Christian filed a lawsuit against the store and the NYPD this week, court records show. Brown filed a similar lawsuit against Macy’s on Friday, according to the Daily News.

Barneys posted an apology on its Facebook page late on Thursday and said it was hiring civil rights attorney Michael Yaki of San Francisco, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to review the store’s practices and procedures.

At a weekly gathering at the Network headquarters on Saturday, Sharpton said racially profiling shoppers is intolerable.

“We are not going to live in a town where our money is considered suspect and everybody else’s money is respected,” he said.

Neither Brown nor his attorney returned calls for comment Saturday.

In 2005, Macy’s paid $600,000 to settle similar allegations that many of the chain’s New York stores had targeted blacks and Latinos for particular scrutiny of theft, according to the New York Attorney General’s office.

Grand larceny has risen 31.6 percent over the last two years in the NYPD’s Midtown North precinct, which includes Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square. It is up nearly 4 percent in the Upper East Side’s 19th precinct, which includes Barneys New York.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Nas, The Roots, Lorde to play fall Boston…

Lorde, Nas, The Roots and Childish Gambino are among the 22 acts that make up the fall festival's lineup, which Boston Calling will announce Wednesday.

National

Train selfie star who got kicked in the…

  A 22-year-old Canadian man who posted a video of himself getting kicked in the head by a train conductor is set to cash in…

National

Call of Duty hoaxer blamed for $100K SWAT…

A heavilly-armed SWAT team and an army of police officers stormed a Long Island home fearing a grisly double homicide – only to find it…

National

Minnie Driver tweets naked celebrity snap to 'shut…

Actress Minnie Driver has responded to bitchy critics who sniped about her bikini body by Tweeting a naked picture of herself. The 44-year-old star of…

Television

John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…

Arts

"The Shape She Makes", an "extraordinary treat" at…

“The Shape She Makes” is a fascinating melding of theater and dance in a narrative that exposes human vulnerability in its purest form. Initially, the…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Yankees rout Red Sox, 9-3

Jon Lester allows eight runs in 4 2/3 innings taking loss

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.

Sports

American runners stand tallest in 2014 Boston Marathon

American runners stand tallest in 2014 Boston Marathon

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon results: American Meb Keflezighi wins…

2014 Boston Marathon results: American Meb Keflezighi wins men's race

Wellbeing

How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.

Food

Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.

Travel

Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.

Wellbeing

Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.