NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Rev. Al Sharpton was set to meet with the chief executive officer of Macy’s Monday to talk about allegations of racial profiling, according to a published report.
Sharpton told the New York Daily News on Saturday that he wants everyone to get on record with their security policies, and to get people to evaluate their procedures.
Rob Brown, a black actor who works on the HBO series “Treme,” said he was detained nearly an hour by police on June 8 after employees contacted authorities about possible credit card fraud.
He said he was buying a $1,350 watch for his mother. The actor has filed a lawsuit.
In a statement, Macy’s said there was no record of any employee contacting authorities about Brown’s purchase. The store said police officers requested use of a room in the building and that request was granted.
The store said it was reaching out to Brown, and continuing to investigate the situation.
Crown Heights resident Art Palmer said he used two credit cards to spend several hundred dollars on shirts and ties at Macy’s Herald Square back in April. He said he was then stopped by four undercover police officers outside.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office has sent letters to the executives at Macy’s East, citing allegations the stores profile customers based on race and national origin and stating that was prohibited under state and local civil rights law.
“We had a very candid and open meeting today to begin a dialogue,” Sharpton said after the private 45-minute meeting with Lee at Sharpton’s National Action Network office in Harlem.
There was no mea culpa at the meeting, but Lee emerged with an apology afterward.
“No one — I mean, no individual — should go through the unacceptable experiences described by Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips in recent media reports,” Lee said.
Christian and Phillips were the two black customers accused the luxury store of racial profiling last week after they said they were detained by police on suspicion of credit card fraud after lawfully purchasing expensive items.
Christian, a 19-year-old City College of Technology student, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the NYPD and Barneys New York, claiming he was accused of fraud after using his debit card to buy a $349 Ferragamo belt in April at the Madison Avenue store.
Phillips, 21, filed a complaint with the city’s police watchdog agency, claiming she had a similar experience after buying a $2,500 Celine handbag in February.
“We cannot live in a city where our consumer dollars are devalued based on the fact of predisposed bias,” Sharpton said.
But Lee insisted that in the two highly-publicized cases, his employees were not at fault.
“No one from Barneys New York raised any issue with these purchases, no one from Barneys brought them to the attention of our internal security, and no one from Barneys reached out to external authorities,” Lee said.
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