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
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.