Protest held outside of Barneys New York

Jim Dolan reports from the Upper East Side.
October 30, 2013 8:33:52 PM PDT
Some African American New Yorkers took to the streets outside one of the city's classiest stores, protesting what they say is a form of racial profiling.

They call it "shop and frisk".

Black customers say they were stopped after legally buying a product.

The protest was at Barneys in Midtown.

"No justice, no shopping. No justice, no shopping," the protesters chanted.

For the first time Wednesday night, African Americans took to the streets outside Barneys to give voice to their anger over the allegations in recent weeks that the store engages in racial profiling and even harasses some African American customers.

"Clergy will not sit by while our members' dignity is compromised," said Rev. Conrad Tillard, a protester.

In two separate cases in recent weeks, people who have made legitimate purchases of high end merchandise from the store have been harassed afterward. That was not exactly Mary's experience.

"You bought this belt at Barneys?" Eyewitness News asked.

"No trouble at all, no trouble at all," Mary said.

Well, maybe a little.

"There was a lot of eyes on me when I had the belt, they didn't really say nothing, but I knew they thought a certain way about it, yeah they were watching me," Mary said.

Barneys executives met Tuesday with Reverend Al Sharpton and other civil rights activists and denied that his employees were involved in racial profiling.

"Barneys has a zero tolerance for discrimination in anyway in any form, racial profiling is an extremely serious form of discrimination and we take it very seriously," a Barneys executive said.

"When two incidents happen like this, it's not always the people that's causing the problems, I think it's the policy, it's a store policy," a protester said.

That's the problem Barney's faces now. If there is a problem with workers, it can be fixed with policy, it can be addressed. But can they repair their reputation in the African American community?

"Me and my friends, I don't think we're going in there anymore," Mary said.