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Sharpton Not Convinced That Racial Profiling Isn’t Happening At Macy’s, Barneys

Civil Rights Leader Remains Unconvinced That Profiling Isn't Taking Place
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Sharpton At Macy's

The Rev. Al Sharpton talks to reporters after meeting with the chief executive officer of Macy’s following racial profiling allegations. (Credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The Rev. Al Sharpton met Monday with the chief executive officer of Macy’s to talk about racial profiling.

But as 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported, after meetings with officials at both Macy’s and Barneys – which also has been the subject of racial profiling allegations – Sharpton was not convinced that the stores do not profile.

“Barneys said they didn’t make the call. Macy’s said they didn’t make the call,” Sharpton said. “So until they find the invisible man, we may recommend that we be invisible in their stores.”

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, Shaprton likened the executives at Macy’s to unfaithful lovers.

“They cheated you, you gave them a second chance, and you’re not being cheated on again,” Sharpton said, referring to a legal settlement on profiling almost a decade ago. “I expressed to the chairman that he felt betrayed.”

Sharpton has set a Wednesday deadline to deal with the profiling matter, to which the stores have agreed even though they say the NYPD was responsible for detaining the customers at the center of the claims.

“They have to come back with a plan on how they would guarantee this can be stopped,” he said.

The meeting with Macy’s follows an incident in which a leading actor on the HBO series “Treme” was detained nearly an hour by police after buying his mother an expensive watch.

Actor Robert Brown said he was stopped inside Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square last June after he bought a $1,350 Movado wristwatch.

Brown thinks he was stopped because he is black. He has filed a lawsuit.

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.

Macy’s said it does not tolerate discrimination.

Sharpton’s meeting Monday with Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren follows a similar meeting last week with Mark Lee, CEO of Barneys,

Barneys has also been hit by complaints that black shoppers were stopped and searched without cause.

Trayon 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.

Kayla 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.

Lee issued an apology after the meeting with Sharpton saying, “No one — I mean, no individual — should go through the unacceptable experiences described by Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips in recent media reports.”

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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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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