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

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.