Couple sues Macy’s, say they were racially profiled
By Julia Marsh | October 30, 2013
A black couple from Brooklyn slapped Macy’s with a $2 million lawsuit Wednesday, alleging that they were racially profiled while shopping at the department store in Roosevelt Field mall.
It is the fourth lawsuit filed in what is a growing ugly trend of black customers at Macy’s and Barneys who say they’ve been accused of theft after making legal purchases.
In this most recent case, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Richard Campbell and Samantha Bynoe, of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, were at the Garden City, LI Macy’s on Sept. 24 with their 2-year-old daughter when they purchased clothing with a gift card.
After they left the store, “two males — who did not identify themselves but who later turned out to be Macys’ employees — aggressively stopped the plaintiffs and took from the plaintiffs the bags containing [their] purchases and directed [them] to return to the Macy’s store," according to the suit.
Campbell, 24, believes he was “confronted because he is African-American and Macy’s has a policy of profiling African-Americans and targeting them as possible thieves and shoplifters solely because they are African-American," the suit alleges.
He adds in the legal documents that Macy’s has “created a black list" by “not wishing to sell to African-Americans because of their color."
The suit continues that they “were then taken through Macy’s to a back room where there were three or four persons who were Macy’s employees."
The Brooklyn residents claim they “were wrongfully detained, had their shopping bags from Macy’s as well as shopping bags from Bloomingdale’s rummaged through."
After an hour the couple showed the employees their receipts and was allowed to leave.
“What I think is interesting is Macy’s has had this problem before," said the couple’s attorney, David Jaroslawicz, adding that he had prepared his claim before news coverage about the three other incidents.
But the allegations are not just recent history.
Jaroslawicz noted that Macy’s alleged history of targeting black and Latino shoppers was “so egregious" that the state attorney general won a $600,000 settlement against the store in 2005. Part of the settlement required appointing a security monitor to crack down on the alleged profiling incidents.
“As soon as the monitor ended, they went back to business as usual," said Jaroslawicz.
Macy’s issued a statement saying: “We cannot comment on any specifics about the lawsuit as it is pending litigation. We will investigate any of the claims alleged by Mr. Campbell and Ms. Bynoe in their lawsuit. Again, we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind within our organization."