Human Rights

Black Teen Cuffed By Cops For Buying Designer Belt—Because ‘No Way’ Could He Afford It—Seeks Justice

“His only crime was being a black man,” attorney says.

“Shopping while black” is apparently a crime in New York, as one teenager discovered, after being unlawfully handcuffed for buying an expensive belt that the Barneys store clerk mistakenly believed he could not afford, even though he paid for it, NY Post reported.

19-year-old Trayon Christian is seeking justice in court after filing a lawsuit in the Manhattan Supreme Court against Barneys and NYPD this week, for the alleged mistreatment.

The incident arose in April after Christian excitedly visited the department store on Madison Avenue to buy a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt that he had saved up for from his part-time job paychecks. 

After purchasing the item and leaving the store, the college student was grabbed by undercover officers and asked, “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt,” the law suit alleges.

The Barney’s store clerk had called police, once Christian exited, claiming that the purchase must have been fraudulent. 

The undercover police officers allegedly asked Christian for his ID, telling the teenager that he could “not afford to make such expensive purchases”. After verifying that the card did in fact belong to Christian, they let him go.

Christian, who has no arrest record, said he would never shop at Barneys again and subsequently returned the belt out of disgust.

His lawyer, Michael Palillo told the Post that Christian was unlawfully targeted because of his skin color: “His only crime was being a young black man,” said.

Barneys has not commented on the matter.

Read More at The Post.

Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.


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