NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Another African-American shopper has come forward to say he was the victim of racial profiling at a high-end Manhattan department store.
Crown Heights resident Art Palmer said he purchased several hundred dollars of merchandise from Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square in April and then was stopped by four undercover police officers outside.
“Surrounded me, pulled out their badge and demanded to see my merchandise,” Palmer told reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer and WCBS 880’s Jim Smith, outside Macy’s on Sunday.
“They said the reason that we stopped you is because you were standing in an area at Macy’s, where we could not see you.”
Palmer said he then went back into Macy’s and was told that police do not have permission to view the store’s surveillance video.
Civil rights attorney Norman Seigel said he wants to know what the store policy is.
“How widespread is this pattern?” Siegel said. “Is it just at places like Barneys and Macy’s, or is it widespread?”
Siegel and state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) called for the New York City Commission on Human Rights to investigate the recent incidents of African-Americans being stopped at retail stores.
“We fought too hard to stop stop-and-frisk, and we’re not going to lay down and allow shop-and-frisk,” Adams said.
“To target innocent people as they either leave the store or shop in the store, it is wrong.”
There have been several other allegations of racial profiling at department stores over the past week.
An engineering student announced he had filed a civil rights lawsuit against the NYPD and Barneys New York because he said he was stopped by police outside the store after buying a $300 Ferragamo belt. A second shopper, who heard about the lawsuit, came forward to say she had a similar experience after buying a $2,500 Celine handbag from Barneys in February.
On Friday, Rob Brown, an actor in the HBO series “Treme,” said he was stopped buying sunglasses because of his race at a Macy’s has filed a lawsuit against the company.
Macy’s released a statement saying that it is investigating Brown’s incident and said its early findings show that the store’s personnel was not invovled in stopping him.
Macy’s takes very seriously the accusations made by Mr. Robert Brown,” the store said. “The allegations are especially concerning given that our company does not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including racial profiling. We are reaching out to Mr. Brown so we can better understand the situation.
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