Barneys is being sued by an African American student from Queens who was detained following a large-item purchase – for no other reason than the color of his skin, he claims.
In April, 19-year-old Trayton Christian was arrested after buying a $349 Salvatore Ferragamo belt at the store. After completing the purchase with his debit card (and having to show ID), he left the store and was stopped less than a block away 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 put in handcuffs and taken to the 19th Precinct stationhouse, then let go two hours later only after the cops called Chase bank to verify his purchase.
Barneys has declined to comment, and the police missed the point entirely in their comment, defending the length of time Christian was in custody, and not the reason he was detained in the first place.
“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,” Inspector Kim Royster told the NY Daily News.
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.
A spokesperson told the website Stylite regarding the lawsuit: “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.”