Kayla Phillips says cops were "very rough" when they shoved her to a wall in a subway and accused her of credit card fraud after she bought a $2,500 Celine bag at Barneys.
(Photo: Aaron Showalter, NY Daily News via Getty Images))
The Rev. Al Sharpton threatened to boycott high-end Barneys New York on Saturday amid racial profiling allegations brought forth by black shoppers in New York City.
"We've gone from stop and frisk to shop and frisk, and we are not going to take it," Sharpton said during a weekly rally at his National Action Network's headquarters in Harlem. "We are not going to live in a town where our money is considered suspect and everyone else's money is respected."
Joining Sharpton at the rally, Kirsten John Foy with National Action Network said the civil rights activist would be meeting with Barneys officials Tuesday to discuss the allegations. Sharpton called for a boycott of the store if the luxury retailer's response is inadequate.
Black shoppers in New York City appear to be coming out of the woodwork this week to say they were racially profiled at retail stores - two at Barneys New York - and the most recent allegation involves an actor for the popular HBO show Treme at Macy's flagship store.
Actor Robert Brown told the NY Daily News he was "paraded" through Macy's back in June in handcuffs and detained for an hour in a holding cell in the store while an employee called police because the store suspected the credit card he was using to purchase sunglasses was not legitimate.
Macy's issued a statement: "We are investigating the alleged claims, as we were just made aware of this lawsuit. We do not comment on matters in litigation." The retailer said it is investigating the charges.
According to a lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Friday, police accused the actor, who costarred with Sean Connery in the movie Finding Forrester, of making a "purchase from Macy's with a fraudulent and/or unauthorized debit/credit card," the Daily News reports.
The suit is for an undisclosed sum, Gothamist reports.
When Brown produced his identification and the card he used to make the purchase, police told him his identification "was false and that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase," according to the suit.
After searching Brown's backpack and shopping bag, they released him without charges, according to the suit.
Meantime, Barneys New York CEO Mark Lee has apologized about claims recently made by two black customers against its Manhattan store, saying "no customer should have the unacceptable experience" of being targeted by police after making a purchase, NBC New York reports.
The store has hired Michael Yaki of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to head up a review of the store's fairness and equality practices, according to NBC.
On Wednesday, 21-year-old nursing student Kayla Phillips alleged four plainclothes officers accused her of credit card fraud in February after she bought a $2,500 bag from Barneys, according to the Daily News.
Phillips told the news organization that she'd been wanting the orange suede bag for awhile and when she received her tax return, she decided to treat herself.
Philips said she purchased the bag but was approached by police three blocks away at a subway station.
"There were three men and a woman," she told the Daily News. "Two of them attacked me and pushed me against a wall, and the other two appeared in front of me, blocking the turnstile."
They hit her with questions and demanded identification, she said. She has filed a $5 million notice of claim with the city indicating she intends to sue the NYPD.
Phillips' allegations came after Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old from Queens, N.Y., filed a discrimination suit accusing Barneys and the NYPD of racially profiling him after an April 29 incident in which he was followed on the street by undercover cops and accused of fraud after buying a $250 belt at Barneys.
Christian's suit says he was handcuffed and taken to a police precinct, and later released with no charges, according to the Daily News.
Contributing: The Associated Press