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Second Barneys New York Customer Accuses Store Of Racial Profiling

A second Barneys New York customer has accused the store of racial profiling, less than 48 hours after a racial discrimination lawsuit was filed by19-year-old Trayon Christian against the flagship retailer. 21-year-old Kayla Phillips said she was approached by four undercover police officers after buying a $2,500 handbag and questioned as to how she paid for it.

Phillips said she called her mom after police asked her, “What are you doing here in Manhattan? Where did you get the money to buy that expensive bag?” She was eventually released after showing police her ID and new debit card that had arrived in the mail that morning.

Phillips is now planning to sue the NYPD for $5 million. It is unclear whether she plans to join the lawsuit filed by 19-year-old Christian, or whether either of these cases could become class action lawsuits.

“Jay Z is getting ready to do a campaign with [Barneys],” said Phillips’ mother, Wendy Straker. “But they’re looking at these African-American kids like they’re thieves.”

Christian claims police approached and detained him after expressing belief that he had actually purchased a $349 belt from the store. After an investigation confirmed that the debit card Christian used to purchase the belt was his, he was released. But in a statement, Barneys New York denied the charges and said they had a “zero tolerance” policy for either racial profiling or discrimination.

“In this instance, we feel compelled to note that after carefully reviewing the incident of last April, it is clear that no employee of Barneys New York was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale,” said the company in a statement on its Facebook page yesterday. “Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and we stand by our long history in support of all human rights.”

(Photo: Reuters)

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