Art Palmer (pictured), a shopper, has come forward with allegations of racial profiling, saying officers stopped him following a purchase at Macy’s Herald Square.
Speaking with the Daily News Sunday, Palmer claimed plainclothes officers surrounded him three blocks from Macy’s flagship store. Palmer reportedly purchased $320 in Polo dress shirts and ties with his Macy’s Platinum and American Express cards.
Soon after, the officers reportedly demanded to see his I.D. According to Palmer, they were suspicious because they’d lost sight of him on the store’s surveillance cameras.
“The reason why we stopped you was because you were standing in an area at Macy’s where we could not see you,” one officer allegedly said during the April 24th incident.
They let Palmer go after he showed his receipts and cards for the purchases, but the next day, Palmer returned to Macy’s to complain. Palmer says the manager told him officers often enter the store to oversee surveillance cameras without clearance.
Palmer then reportedly went to the Midtown South station house, where a lieutenant reportedly told him the officers “were just doing their jobs.”
Upset at both responses, Palmer took his grievances to the Civilian Complaint Review Board. The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is also reportedly looking in to the claim.
The incident closely mirrors that of Trayon Christian’s. Last week, the 19-year-old claimed officers stopped him after a purchase outside Barneys New York in April.
According to a lawsuit Christian filed last Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court, one of the cops asked him “how a young Black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt?” Even though he showed officers the receipts for his $350 belt, ID, and his credit card, they still arrested him. Christian was released two hours later.
Christian, who’d saved up money for the belt from a part-time job, returned it the day after. He says he never plans on shopping at Barneys again.
A day after Christian shared his experience, another Black shopper revealed her own. Twenty-one year old Kayla Phillips said officers accused her of credit card fraud after she purchased a $2,500 Barneys designer bag in February.
Inspired by Christian, HBO actor Robert Brown has also come forward. Brown said he was accused of using a stolen credit card to buy his mother a $1,350 watch at Macy’s Herald Square in June. Officers arrested and released him within 45 minutes. Brown is suing the store and the NYPD for the arrest.
Macy’s spokeswoman Elina Kazan said that “Macy’s personnel were not involved in Mr. Brown’s detention or questioning. This was an operation of the New York City Police Department.”
Rapper Jay-Z, who has a partnership with Barneys, has received numerous calls to abandon his collaboration after the incidents. Responding via a statement on his website Saturday, Mr. Carter said:
I move and speak based on facts and not emotion. I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys. Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately?
On Sunday, Civil Rights lawyer Normal Siegel asked N.Y.C’s Human Rights Commission to investigate racial profiling at the city’s stores. National Action Network leader Al Sharpton has also threatened a Barneys boycott in light of the allegations.