Barneys Reaches Accord Settling Racial-Profiling Allegations

Esteban Roman, Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2014

Barneys New York agreed to pay more than $500,000, hire an independent anti-racial profiling consultant and monitor employees more closely under an agreement with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman settling racial-profiling allegations.

The attorney general’s office became involved in October after allegations of discrimination by African-American shoppers who said New York Police Department and Barneys security officers detained them unreasonably after they made purchases at the luxury department store.

In its investigation, the attorney general’s office said existing records showed that Barneys had “a disproportionate number of African-American and Latino customers being detained for alleged shoplifting or credit card fraud.”

It also concluded that the company didn’t have comprehensive written policies regarding racial profiling and use of excessive force and handcuffs.

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The allegations against Barneys drew considerable attention, spawning new phrases for New York’s lexicon for discrimination such as “shop and frisk” and “shopping while black.”

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In a news release, the Rev. Al Sharpton said his organization, the National Action Network, was hiring spot checkers in Barneys to see if there is enforcement of the profiling agreement.

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