Barneys busted student for ‘shopping while black’


A college student from Queens got more than he bargained for when he splurged on a $350 designer belt at Barneys — when a clerk had him cuffed apparently thinking the black teen couldn’t afford the pricey purchase, even though he had paid for it, a new lawsuit alleges.

This should be interesting!


Baseless assumptions (black teen =/= thief) which lead to asinine, unnecessary racial profiling. It’s truly terrible.


Moral of the story: make sure to spend at places where you will be respected…one test is to go browsing first and see how you are treated.


This reminds me of an experience I had at Sachs several years ago. I went in to buy jewelry for my mother that I had seen on their website. I was looking in the cases when I was approached by an employee who asked out-of-the-blue, “Can I help you find something more in your price range.” as if I didn’t have money to spend. It was an insulting experience, I left, and I have no intention of ever going back. Granted, I’m not black, but I don’t think it was racially motivated. I was a kid in his early 20s in a store which charges $175 for ties and up to $950 for a belt.

Its no surprise to me that a store like Barney’s would be suspicious of a 19 year old kid, regardless of race, buying a $349 belt after more than 50 credit card fraud cases there so far this year. Age discrimination is to be expected at any upscale store or even restaurant.


If this was based on race then they definitely did do something wrong. Racial prejudice is always wrong.

That said, I think he should have spent the money he saved on his college tuition, books, or something else more worthwhile but then again, its his money and he has a right to spend it how he wishes.


This is shameful


I can’t count how many times that has happened to me. I generally say, “And how do you know what my price range is??”

I wasn’t shopping but at the hospital when I was once thought to be an unwed teen mother because I looked so young. (My wedding ring was on a chain around my neck, because it didn’t fit right after the birth.) “Excuse me, but what business is it of yours, what birth control I will be using??” was my response to the social worker.


I unfortunately don’t put much anymore here-------but the last comment of the post really made me laugh. LOL. :p:)


2 belts, 8 bucks, will last me at least a year.

Thanks Gabes.


Even if this is more age discrimination than actual racial profiling----it is still wrong. :shrug::shrug:


I think a lot of these stories are due to class discrimination which, of course intersects with race. I’m white & middle-aged but I don’t dress up except for church so sometimes I get followed at stores & others I get the frosty “Can I help you?”

And the standard response of white people to young black men is “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!!”


While $350 for a belt is very expensive, its not THAT expensive as compared to say a Wii U or a laptop. Somehow I doubt that sales clerks at places that sell those would do this. I would like to know more about the arrest and what information the police had than the sales clerk who made the phone call.


I mostly agree with you, but there is something missing from this story. He paid with a debit card which went through. Not clear if the clerk verified signature or checked ID, but what led the clerk to think it was fraud? to go as far as cuffing the guy after a purchase makes no sense without some sort of valid reason.


That guy should have shopped at Bluefly, online luxury site and still saved $200-300 for other finer things in life.


Might have you beat there…1 belt, 3 bucks, 3 years so far. Worn with jeans 3-5 days per week. (same contact case since 1990!)


Another incident at Macy’s, I’ll add it here rather than start a new thread.


[FONT=Arial]In a third such allegation this week, actor Rob Brown of HBO’s “Treme” told New York’s Daily News on Friday he had been “paraded” through a Midtown Manhattan 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 similar experiences at Barneys.
He told the newspaper he “implored” police 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 it was 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 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.

OK, theft by fraud is a big problem at these stores. I guess their policy is to let suspected thieves leave to “complete” the crime & make it easier to prosecute. But why can’t stores scan people’s IDs? That’s what happens when I buy beer (I’m 49+) they have a scanner to read the bar code.
It will be interesting to see the lawsuits go forward. Barney’s and Macy’s will have to produce their records which should show whether minorities were overrepresented among those accused, or among those committing fraud for that matter.

My other problem with these stories is who pays such prices for clothes? :confused: I wouldn’t even if I hit the lotto.



Because of institutional racism and some peoples’ preconceived notions that if you are black, you must be doing something illegal. Scan and ID? What good would that do if cops have already made up their minds that you are guilty? The ID would obviously be a fake. After all, black people use forged or stolen identification all the time. :rolleyes:


Um, I meant scan the IDs of all customers to eliminate the profiling issue.
Yes, I blame the cops for refusing to check ID themselves but they have a complaint & I’m sure their procedure is to accept the store’s version, make an arrest & let the courts sort things out from there.

I bet there’s a lot under the surface; the NYPD is already on the case but Macy’s and Barney’s complain to the Mayor that they aren’t doing enough. The NYPD (and every other PD in the country) will deny they have quotas for tickets, arrests &c. but cops are rated on “productivity”. Making an arrest is productive, scanning the ID and finding the store’s accusation unfounded is not. :frowning:


Yes, but black customers could still be accused of having fake IDs.


It was a statistically-accurate assumption. An apology should suffice, but of course the grievance lobby race-hustlers have to lawyer up and sue. Has Sharpton put in an appearance yet?

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