Barneys has agreed to a $525,000 settlement for racial profiling after a nine-month investigation found that the security and staff personnel of its flagship store on New York’s Madison Avenue were targeting minority customers.
According to the New York Daily News, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigators interviewed nearly a dozen complainants, including customers and former employees, who noticed a pattern of racial profiling began last year following a “dramatic spike” in shoplifting and credit card fraud.
“This agreement will correct a number of wrongs, both by fixing past policies and by monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employees to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated,” Schneiderman said.
In April 2013, a 19-year-old college student named Trayon Christian said he was racially profiled and accused of fraud by two undercover cops after purchasing a $349 Ferragamo belt at Barneys. Two months prior, 21-year-old nursing student Kayla Phillips said she was also accused of credit card fraud by four plainclothes cops after buying a $2,500 Celine bag.
Rap mogul, Jay Z, came under fire last fall after teaming with Barneys for a holiday collection. He issued a statement, saying, “I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgements, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?”
He added, “I am no stranger to being profiled and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position. Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change.”
In addition to the settlement, Barneys will hire an “anti-profiling consultant” for two years, update its detention policy and improve training of security and sales personnel.