With the holiday shopping season fast approaching an increasing number of Black consumers are reporting incidents of racial profiling while trying to patronize retailers and department stores.
The ripple effects are causing some of the retailers to retain civil rights experts, review policies and procedures and attempt to maintain relationships with the Black community using high profile rap moguls like Jay-Z.
Art Palmer, 56, of Brooklyn told CNN he was stopped by New York Police Department officers in April after he left the Macy’s department store in Herald Square.
Two Black shoppers said they were questioned by police after they made expensive purchases at Barneys New York department store in Manhattan.
Kayla Phillips, 21, told reporters last week that four plainclothes officers forcefully stopped her after she purchased and left Barneys with a $2,500 orange suede Celine bag in February. Trayon Christian, 19, a Black college student said he also was racially profiled after purchasing a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt at Barneys in April. Despite showing the officers the receipt for the belt, his ID and the debit card used he was still detained.
Christian was told that his identification was false and that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase,” Michael Palillo, attorney for Trayvon Christian
Both want damages from the store and the New York Police Department. Christian has filed a lawsuit.
HBO television actor Robert Brown said at a news conference in October that he was racially profiled at the Herald Square Macy’s in June. Brown said at least three plainclothes officers stopped him, accused him of using a fraudulent credit card, handcuffed and searched him and held him for for nearly an hour before he was released.
Barneys said it has retained a civil rights expert to lead a review of its policies and procedures and has reached out to community leaders to start a dialogue. Macy’s said that according to an initial investigation, its “personnel were not involved in Mr. Brown’s detention or questioning,” which was “an operation of the New York City Police Department.”
Intelligent shoppers are starting to ask,”what do Black consumers receive for one trillion dollars in consumer spending?”
An online petition with over 21,000 signatures is asking rapper Jay-Z, who’s collaborating with Barneys for a holiday collection, to disassociate from it.
What say you?