Club promoter Halim Sharif says officials stopped him and looked through his purchase this spring. He claims it was because he is black.
The incident reportedly happened April 19. Sharif claims he purchased a bag as a gift for a friend. While departing the store, a security alarm went off, according to his lawyer, Kareem Vessup (Vessup also represents Kayla Phillips, who is suing the NYPD after she claims plainclothes officers stopped her after she made a purchase at Barneys in April).
Sharif was then stopped by a loss-prevention member employee, who asked to see his receipt. After complying with the request, Sharif alleges the employee still went through his purchase.
“They beat up the purchase pretty badly,” Vessup said. “They [Macy’s] became a little bit dismissive of Mr. Sharif.”
Sharif apparently began recording the exchange on his cell phone once a manager and supervisor intervened. Though Vessup said the video will not be released, it allegedly shows other shoppers who set off the alarm, but weren’t stopped; none were black or Hispanic.
Though he filed a complaint against the store, Sharif said he didn’t receive any response. This past Saturday, Macy’s finally gave this statement addressing the situation:
“We take any claim made by our customers very seriously and will investigate Mr. Sharif’s allegation vigorously. Macy’s has a zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind. If Macy’s policies have not been upheld, we will take swift and immediate action. As Mr. Sharif’s case is pending litigation, we cannot comment further on any specifics relating to the lawsuit.”
After engaging in legal battles over additional racial profiling claims by other black customers, Macy’s signed a customer’s Bill Of Rights earlier this month. The Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network also facilitated the bill’s creation. Other high-end department stores that have weathered profiling accusations have agreed to post the bill on their sites. They include Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The document denounces discrimination of any kind.
“Profiling is an unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated,” it states. “Employees who violate the company’s prohibition on profiling will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.”