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Report: Barneys Staff Had Nothing To Do With Alleged Profiling Incidents

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- In a report released Tuesday, Barneys said it never asked its employees to check out two African-American customers who said they were victims of racial profiling.

As 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reported, the report said Barneys employees did not initiate any profiling, and did not call police in to check out the two customers when they purchased expensive items in separate incidents.

The five-page report commissioned by Barneys said store staff even tried to dissuade police from pursuing Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old City College of Technology student, who said he was accused of fraud after using his debit card to buy a $349 Ferragamo belt in April at the Madison Avenue store.

Report: Barneys Staff Had Nothing To Do With Alleged Profiling Incidents


Christian has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the NYPD and Barneys New York.

Another customer, 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. She was investigated because she allegedly used a debit card without a name on it, the report said.

"No Barneys employees determined that either Kayla Phillips or Trayon Christian should be questioned by the New York Police Department about their purchases at Barneys, or took any action evidencing a belief or suspicion that either had committed or may have committed any illegal act that required or requested intervention by either Barneys Loss Prevention staff or the NYPD," said the report by attorney Michael Yaki.

Yaki added in the report that he was not able to find any policy, "written or unwritten, to engage in racial profiling in the Loss Prevention department. To the contrary, the Loss Prevention department has a formal antiracial profiling policy."

Sources said police had been in the store pursuing other fraud cases, one of which involved a customer carrying nine phony credit cards.

The NYPD has declined to comment.

Meanwhile, a party with Jay-Z to celebrate Barneys' cooperation with the hip-hop mogul, has been canceled due to what a company representative called "unforeseen circumstances." No further details were provided.

Jay-Z has said he will continue his partnership with the store as long as he is appointed leader of a council created to deal with profiling.

The alleged racial profiling incidents have caused an uproar, and have led the Rev. Al Sharpton to meet with Barneys chief executive officer Mark Lee.

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.

Allegations of racial profiling have also erupted at Macy's, prompting a meeting between Sharpton and Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren.

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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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