Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old engineering student from Queens, says he was arrested in luxury department store, Barney’s New York after purchasing a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt as undercover cops asked: “How could you afford a belt like this? Where did you get this money from?”
It’s being reported that that the NYC College of Technology freshman made his purchase with a debit card with no problems, but as he went to exit the store he was stopped by undercover police officers. “They said my card wasn’t real, it was fake. They said someone at Barneys called to report it,” Christian told The New York Post. The teen said the male detectives asked to see his school ID, driver’s license and look in his bag, but even though he showed the proper identification for the debit card, he was still handcuffed and taken to the 19th Precinct stationhouse for questioning. Christian claimed he was detained for two hours as cops double checked that his debit card was authentic, though an NYPD spokesperson claims he was only held for 42 minutes…as if that’s any better.
The teenager was ultimately released with his belt and an apology from the NYPD, when it was determined that his debit card was in fact his, but he isn’t taking this case of racial profiling lightly. Christian has taken up legal counsel and is suing Barney’s and the NYPD for unspecified damages. “He’s never been arrested. His only crime was being a young black guy buying a $300 belt,” the lawyer said.
Barneys New York is shifting the blame, and released the following statement, via their Facebook page:
“Barneys New York typically does not comment on pending litigation. In this instance, we feel compelled to note that after carefully reviewing the incident of last April, it is clear that no employee of Barneys New York was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale. Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and we stand by our long history in support of all human rights.”
Meanwhile, Christian said he’s since returned the belt and will never shop at the posh Madison Avenue store again, calling the incident “cruel” and “racist.” We don’t blame him and we hope Christian wins his suit!
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