New York City Council Header
File #: Res 0045-2014    Version: * Name: Calling for the condemnation of Barneys New York and their prejudiced security policies.
Type: Resolution Status: Filed (End of Session)
Committee: Committee on Civil Rights
On agenda: 2/26/2014
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling for the condemnation of Barneys New York and their prejudiced security policies.
Sponsors: Fernando Cabrera , Rosie Mendez, Deborah L. Rose
Council Member Sponsors: 3
Res. No. 45
 
 
Resolution calling for the condemnation of Barneys New York and their prejudiced security policies.
 
 
By Council Members Cabrera, Mendez and Rose
 
Whereas, Racial profiling is a term used to describe actions that rely on race, ethnicity, or national origin rather than the behavior of an individual or particularized information to identify one as being, or having been, engaged in criminal activity; and
Whereas, While racial profiling has been the subject of considerable scrutiny in the context of the traffic police and pedestrian stops, racial profiling in the consumer context has received far less attention, notwithstanding its prevalence; and
      Whereas, In October 2013, alleged racial profiling by New York City's department stores became headline news when Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old college freshman from Corona, New York filed lawsuits against both Barneys New York ("Barneys") and the New York Police Department ("NYPD"); and
Whereas, According to news reports, Mr. Christian alleges that he walked into Barneys department store on Madison Avenue in New York City in April 2013 to purchase a $350 belt; and
Whereas, Mr. Christian also alleges he provided the sales clerk a debit card and identification to pay for the belt; and
Whereas, Mr. Christian further asserts that during the process of running the debit card, the clerk called the police claiming the debit card was a fraud: and
Whereas, Having completed the transaction successfully, Mr. Christian left the store, and was approached by detectives and taken to the 19th police precinct for questioning and only released two hours later, after police confirmed that his debit card was legitimate; and
Whereas, Since the publicity of Mr. Christian's lawsuit, others have come forward recounting similar experiences at Barneys and other department stores in New York City; and
Whereas, In the days following this event, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton met with Barneys Chief Executive Office Mark Lee as well as other community leaders to discuss the alleged racial profiling at Barneys; and  
Whereas, Mr. Lee asserted that his employees were not involved in racial profiling, did not question Mr. Christian, and did not call the NYPD; and
Whereas, Mr. Lee reportedly apologized for Mr. Christian's treatment and expressed zero tolerance for any form of discrimination at Barneys; and
Whereas, Notwithstanding Mr. Lee's comments, it is evident that at the very least, Barneys has failed to shield its customers from racial profiling; and
Whereas, We as a city, as individuals, as elected officials, must do everything within our collective power to ensure that Barneys and retailers, large and small, are prevented from racial profiling; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls for the condemnation of Barneys New York and their prejudiced security policies.
 
WJH
2/18/14
LS 5183