Black actor held after buying $1,600 watch

Black actor held after buying $1,600 watch

A black actor on the HBO drama series Treme said he was stopped by police because of his race while shopping at Macy's.

It was the third discrimination allegation made this week by a black shopper against a department store.

Mr Robert Brown, who sued Macy's in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, said he was detained by police at the flagship Herald Square store in New York on June 8 after employees contacted authorities about possible credit card fraud.

He said he was "paraded while handcuffed" through the store to a holding cell, where he was kept for nearly an hour while officers grilled him and searched his bag. He was eventually released without charges.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday, said it was over sunglasses, but Mr Brown said on Friday it was over a US$1,300 (S$1,600) Movado watch he had bought for his mother for her college graduation, AP reported.

"I believe I was profiled," said Mr Brown, 29, who appears in the movie Don Jon.

He said the officers eventually cleared him and then one drove him to his mother's graduation. He said he was coming forward because he didn't want others to experience the same treatment.

Mr Brown's lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages, but his lawyer John Elefterakis said: "This is about justice, not money."

Macy's didn't comment on the litigation but said in a statement that it was investigating.

Earlier this week, two Barneys New York customers, Mr Trayon Christian and Miss Kayla Phillips, who are black, said they were detained by police after making expensive purchases.

Police said they were already in the store when Mr Christian was taken into custody and they were contacted by the store after Miss Phillips, 21, used a temporary debit card.

The profiling accusations prompted an outcry from civil rights groups, with the Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network threatening to picket the store.

Barneys said it had retained a civil rights expert to lead a review of its policies and procedures and had reached out to community leaders to start a dialogue.

The CEO of Barneys, Mr Mark Lee, offered his "sincere regret and deepest apologies." Earlier this week, Mr Christian sued Barneys, saying he was accused of fraud after using his debit card to buy a US$349 Ferragamo belt in April.

Miss Phillips said in a notice of claim filed with the city that undercover officers detained her after she bought a US$2,500 designer bag at Barneys in February.


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