in a discrimination lawsuit filed on friday, an african-american shopper said macy's security personnel stopped him after he bought a $2,400 louis vuitton bag and an alarm went off as he tried to exit the store.
club promoter halim sharif said he was detained, and his bag was searched. yet a half-dozen white customers left the store - at the same time - without being detained or searched. sharif said those very same customers also set off alarms at the macy's flagship store's west 34th street exit.
the incident happened april 19, 2013. sharif said he was the only person stopped. he said he has cellphone audio and video to prove his claim. he told the new york times, "it was as clear as black and white. there was no gray area. i saw people exit before me and after me, and none of them looked like me. they lacked pigmentation."
the 37 year-old promoter, who indicated he's suing macy's for unspecified damages, said he decided to speak up after reading accounts of four alleged instances of racial profiling at macy's, and another retailer: privately owned barney's new york.
brooklyn resident kayla phillips, who alleged she was racially profiled at barney's in february, also filed a discrimination lawsuit on friday in brooklyn supreme court, according to the daily news. macy's, through a representative, said the company was looking into sharif's allegation, but would have no comment due to pending litigation.
according to the representative, "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." both stores named in the lawsuits said new york city police department officers were the culprits in earlier incidents targeting black shoppers, including phillips, rob brown, trayon christian and art palmer. the nypd said its officers were merely acting on information provided by store employees.
macy's joined several retailers whom signed a customer 'bill of rights' earlier this month. civil rights leaders, including rev. al sharpton, met with retailer representatives to draft the document, which is to be posted on participating department store websites. other signatories include barney's new york, macy's-owned bloomingdale's, and hudson's bay company subsidiaries lord & taylor, and saks fifth avenue.
- 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.