Last April, a salesperson at the chic and upscale famed retailer, Barneys New York, summoned police to arrest a black teen, Trayon Christian (pictured), because it was assumed he could never afford a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt he purchased with his Chase debit card. After all, the clerk thought, how could a young Black youth afford such a pricey belt? Surely it must be a fraudulent purchase — even though the young college student produced an ID with his card! So Christian was cuffed and hauled off to jail. Wrong move! Now Christian filed a lawsuit against not only Barneys, but the NYPD as well, according to the New York Post.
Christian’s experience, he claims in the lawsuit, was not only extremely distressing but embarrassing for him as well. What gets his goat most, however, is that, “In spite of producing such documentation (a receipt), he was told that his identification was false and that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase.”
The 19-year-old pined for the luxury purchase ever since he saw Harlem rapperJuelz Santana sporting it. So Christian, who attends the New York City College of Technology, saved the monies he earned from his part-time job to buy the belt from the luxury Madison Avenue store. When Christian paid for the belt and exited the store, an undercover police grabbed him and, according to the lawsuit asked, how a young black man such as himself could “afford to purchase such an expensive belt.”
Christian, who has no arrest record, was taken to a local precinct and there, officers called Chase Bank to verify that he was the rightful owner of the card; they released him afterwards.
Christian, who filed the lawsuit with the Manhattan Supreme Court, returned the belt to the popular clothing store because he is reportedly soured by the treatment he received at the store. Not surprisingly, Christian told the New York Post he will never shop at the store again.
When the New York Post contacted Barneys for a comment, they did not provide one.
I guess in the sales clerk’s eyes, Christian was perpetrating a white man! Security!