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Barneys accused teen of utilizing faux debit card for $349 belt because he is a ‘young black American male’: lawsuit

A black teenager is looking for justice — claiming snooty Barneys staffers and New York Metropolis cops racially profiled him for credit card fraud after he bought a $349 belt.

Trayon Christian, 19, informed the Day by day News he filed a lawsuit after he was focused by staffers at Barneys' Madison Ave. flagship retailer and detained by police because they did not consider a younger black man could presumably afford to buy such an expensive belt.

The trend-ahead teen, who lives along with his mother in Corona, Queens, is finding out engineering at the new York City Faculty of Technology, where he had a work-research job.

Christian said his paycheck had simply been direct deposited into his Chase bank account, so he went straight to Barneys on the afternoon of April 29 to purchase the expensive Ferragamo belt with a silver buckle and a reversible black and white strap.

"I knew exactly what I needed," Christian said. He'd seen the belt on loads of his favorite celebrities, including rapper Juelz Santana.

He stated he'd browsed the ritzy rags at Barneys before but had never bought something at the store.

"It was a quick trip. I gave them my debit card, I signed my identify," he said.

In line with his lawsuit, the clerk asked Christian to show his ID, which he did.

"I showed my state ID," he advised The Information.

The clerk did not react as he signed for his buy and left, he stated.

But he received not more than a block from the store when two undercover NYPD detectives stopped him near E. 60th St., the lawsuit said.

"They mentioned my card wasn't real, it was pretend. They stated somebody at Barneys referred to as to report it," stated Christian.

The male detectives — whose names he by no means learned — requested to see ID and look in his bag, he mentioned.

Additionally they requested him if he worked, and the place.

"I confirmed them my faculty ID and my driver's license," said Christian, who was 18 when the incident allegedly occurred.

"I kept thinking, 'Why is that this taking place to me?'" he said.

"The detectives were asking me, 'How may you afford a belt like this? The place did you get this cash from?'" he stated.

He was handcuffed and taken to the nineteenth Precinct stationhouse, he said.

In keeping with his lawsuit, he was detained in a holding cell for about two hours.

He was then released along with his debit card, his belt and an apology from the police, Christian stated.

A spokeswoman for the NYPD denied Christian was detained for 2 hours, saying he was brought into the precinct at 7:04 p.m. and was allowed to depart at 7:45 p.m.

"Mr. Christian was held in police custody for approximately forty two minutes and as quickly as we determined that the card was genuine, he was immediately released," stated Inspector Kim Royster.

He was by no means charged, based on his lawyer.

"I used to be nervous the whole time, however probably not scared because I knew I had done nothing incorrect," mentioned the teen.

After he got home, he obtained offended.

"I brought the belt back to Barneys a number of days later and returned it. I received my money back, I am not shopping there again," he mentioned. "It's cruel. It's racist."

Calls to Barneys, which is led by CEO Mark Lee, were not returned.

Town Legislation Department stated it hadn't seen the court papers but.

"We're awaiting a formal copy of the lawsuit and will assessment the claims upon receipt," mentioned Elizabeth Thomas, a Legislation Department spokeswoman.

The NYPD mentioned it has gotten 53 grand larceny complaints this 12 months for credit card fraud at Barneys' Madison Ave. retailer and has made more than 47 arrests. However it is unclear how many of these arrested were actually charged with against the law and what number of were, like Christian, launched.

Plainclothes officers go to Barneys periodically because of problems with fraudulent use of cards, the NYPD said.

Christian's legal professional Michael Palillo said the teen, who now works at Target, has a clear file.

"He is never been arrested. His solely crime was being a younger black guy shopping for a $300 belt," the lawyer stated.

The student's Fb web page reveals footage of a style-loving teen. In some, Christian is sporting varied belts with buckles encrusted with glittering "F's" — but it is not clear if they are additionally cheap ferragamo belt men belt ( gadgets.

He's additionally seen posing for selfies in a collection of baseball caps which were color-coded to match his clothes, with a gold chain and an earring peeking out.

Christian's mother, Selena Christian, stated she was outraged on the upscale store's remedy of her son.

"Barneys stated his card was stolen, they mentioned he shouldn't have that much cash in his account," said the 40-yr-old-fashioned bus driver. "I'm shocked. He is a great child."

The hardworking mom might find only one cause for her son to be singled out after he'd shown ID to the Barneys staffer.

"It is because he is an African-American," she said. "It's incorrect. They should not have finished this."

Being publicly questioned, searched and handcuffed and then detained in a police precinct cell brought about Christian "nice physical and psychological distress and humiliation," the lawsuit said.

"His popularity and character have been injured and he was embarrassed," the court docket papers said.

The incident was as a result of "negligence, careless[ness] and recklessness of Barneys" and the undercover detectives, the lawsuit alleges.

Christian is suing the NYPD and Barneys for unspecified damages.

With Rich Schapiro

Off-the-rack Barneys details:

* Founded in 1923 as a low cost men's retailer by Barney Pressman.

* Didn't introduce a women's division till 1976.

* Was initially Barney's Clothes, and then Barneys. The shop misplaced its apostrophe in 1981.

* First retailer outside of new York was opened in Seattle in 1990.

* The chain went bankrupt in 1996, and emerged from bankruptcy in January 1999.

* Had no CEO between 2008 and 2010, when it was run by a seven-member govt board.

* Its Madison Ave. flagship retailer is more than 250,000 sq. toes.

* The Pressman household sold the chain in 2004, and it has changed hands twice since then. It is now owned by Perry Capital.

* Lady Gaga designed a number of the flagship store's holiday displays in 2011. Jay Z is teaming up with the store this year for a group and window display titled "New York Vacation."

* The shop's 2012 "Electric Holiday" show prompted a kerfuffle when it featured rail skinny model versions of Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck. The shop famous the lanky variations of the stout stars had been featured in a dream sequence, and that Minnie "happily awakens as her normal self."

* * *

Meet the boss:

* Barneys CEO Mark Lee, 50, is a San Francisco native.

* Moved to New York in 1980 as an performing student at New York University.

* First fashion gig was in 1984 as an assistant buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue. Has since worked at Giorgio Armani, Yves St. Laurent and headed Gucci before landing Barneys gig.

* Wage is reportedly seven figures, with equity in the company.

* Took over the then-struggling chain in 2010 and has made it worthwhile as soon as once more, with a reported $800 million in gross sales in 2012.

* As CEO, has focused on streamlining the store's model and making it higher-finish.

Updated: Barneys CEO releases assertion

Barneys New York believes that no customer ought to have the unacceptable experience described in recent media experiences, and we offer our sincere remorse and deepest apologies.

Additional to our statement of yesterday, we need to reinforce that Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. We're a strong proponent of equal rights and equal remedy for all human beings. Our mission is to ensure that each one customers receive the best-quality service—without exception.

To this finish, we are conducting a thorough evaluation of our practices and procedures as they relate to those matters to make sure that they replicate our continued commitment to fairness and equality. To lead this evaluate, we've got retained a civil rights skilled, Michael Yaki, who also serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Fee has been the nation's watchdog for civil rights for greater than 50 years. Mr. Yaki shall be supplied with unrestricted access to all aspects of our store operations.

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