Student claims racial profiling by Barneys, NYPD

Dray Clark reports outside of Barneys where the alleged incident took place
October 23, 2013 3:47:05 PM PDT
A New York City college student claims he was the victim of racial profiling when he went shopping at a Manhattan clothing store.

"Very embarrassing, very," said 19-year old Trayon Christian.

He says he had the right color money but the wrong color skin when he went shopping at a Barneys store on the Upper East Side.

Trayon bought a $350 Ferragamo belt with his debit card, a transaction that was approved and signed.

But Trayon says after he left the store two undercover NYPD detectives stopped him a block away.

"Undercover cops that had regular clothes on stopped me and said I just got a call from Barney's saying your card is not real and it didn't go through," said Christian.

Trayon says he told the detectives the card was real and he had a receipt proving his purchase.

Still, he says he was questioned about how someone so young could afford a belt that's so expensive.

Trayon says he earned the money through a work study job at New York City College of Technology, where's he's an engineering student.

"I don't do credit card scams. I don't do none of that . I just work legit," he said.

Trayon says he was handcuffed and taken to the 19th Precinct, where he claims he was held for two hours and released.

"They was like I'm sorrry about everything that happened and your card is real," he said.

"It's very upsetting, very upsetting. He was traumatized behind that," said his mother Selena Christian.

Trayon's family is now suing both Barneys and the NYPD seeking unspecified damages.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, Barneys said: "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."

"I want nothing to do with Barneys. I don't want to go there no more. I don't want to shop there no more, no nothing," said Christian.

The New York Police Department said any officers' role is under internal review. The city's law department said it was waiting for a formal copy of the lawsuit, and would review the claim once it had been received.