Shop and Frisk? Barneys Shopper Arrested for Being Black [Updated]

Racism in high-end retail isn’t unheard of, but was taken to a new level of shittiness in April when Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old student from Queens, was arrested after purchasing a $349 Salvatore Ferragamo belt at Barneys.

Oh yeah, he was also black, which shouldn’t be relevant, but is considering it’s the only reason he was detained.

After buying the belt with his debit card and ID, Christian left the store with his new purchase. But less than a block away he was stopped by undercover officers who grabbed him and demanded how he could afford the designer item. Apparently the clerk had suspected the purchase was fraudulent and called the cops after Christian left the store.

He was handcuffed and taken to the 19th Precinct stationhouse, and was let go after two hours after the cops called Chase bank to verify his purchase.

Barneys has declined to comment, but the police wasted no time in justifying their own actions:

“Mr. Christian was held in police custody for approximately 42 minutes and as soon as we determined that the card was authentic, he was immediately released,” said Inspector Kim Royster told the NY Daily News.

The time frame isn’t really the point, NYPD.

Christian was first inspired to buy the accessory by Harlem rapper and Ferragamo enthusiast Juelz Santana. He has since returned it out of disgust, and is now suing both Barneys and the NYPD for unspecified damages.

UPDATE: We reached out to Barneys for comment and were met with the following response from a spokesperson:

“Barneys New York typically does not comment on pending litigation.  In this instance, we feel compelled to note that after carefully reviewing the incident of last April, it is clear that no employee of Barneys New York was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale. Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and we stand by our long history in support of all human rights.”

We’re a little confused as to why the cops arrived if no employee of Barneys was involved in any action rather than the sale, and have contacted the spokesperson to clarify further.

UPDATE: Barneys has released another statement about the shop and frisk:

“Barneys New York typically does not comment on pending litigation.  In this instance, we feel compelled to note that after carefully reviewing the incident of last April, it is clear that no employee of Barneys New York was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale. Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and we stand by our long history in support of all human rights. We are very sorry that any customer of our store would have this experience”

Well, that clears up everything.

Related links:
Hot Topic: Diversity on the Runway, Will It Ever Be?
Alexander McQueen Staff Accused of Horrendous Racism
Unapologetically Racist Nivea Ad Seeks to ‘Re-Civilize’ Black Men

[NY Daily News]

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