a 19 year-old college student from queens says he was handcuffed and locked in a jail cell after buying a $350 designer belt from barney's on new york's madison avenue. the teenager says the arrest occurred because he is "a young black man."
trayon christian told nbc 4 new york on wednesday he saved up from a part-time job for weeks to buy a salvatore ferragamo belt in april. he also said the clerk asked to see his identification. after the sale went through and he left the store, he was approached by police about a block away, and asked, "how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt," according to a lawsuit filed tuesday in manhattan court.
officers hauled christian to the local precinct, where he showed police his identification, as well as his debit card and the receipt for the belt, the lawsuit says. police believed his identification was fake, and eventually called the bank, which verified it was his, according to the complaint. the teenager, who has no prior arrests, was released.
christian told nbc 4 new york many questions were racing through his mind while he went through the painful experience of being handcuffed and taken to a cell. "why me? i guess because i'm a young black man, and, you know, people do a credit card scam so they probably thought that i was one of them. they probably think that black people don't have money like that," he said.
he later returned the belt to barney's because he says he "didn't want to have nothing to do with it." christian is suing the city and barney's for unspecified damages as a result of "great physical and mental distress and humiliation." his attorney, michael palillo, told the post, "his only crime was being a young black man."
barney's, the luxury department store, in a statement on wednesday, said none of its employees were involved in any action with christian - other than the sale - adding the store "has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination."
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.