A fourth shopper in New York stepped forward Sunday claiming that he was racially profiled after he made an expensive purchase at Macy’s Herald Square, which has also been accused of racial profiling by actor Robert Brown.
African-American shoppers in New York are facing a serious dilemma as it seems arrests for “shopping while black” are becoming far too common.
Art Palmer, a 56-year-old exercise trainer from Brooklyn, came forward saying that he had been surrounded by police officers after he made an expensive purchase at Macy’s flagship store.
Palmer says the incident happened in April when he purchased $320 worth of Polo dress shirts and ties.
He said he was surrounded by NYPD police officers in plain clothes about three blocks away from Macy’s where he made the purchase without problem.
Palmer even had a Macy’s platinum credit card in his name, but apparently that wasn’t enough to counteract the fact that he was a Black male making an expensive purchase.
To make matters worse, police officers clearly didn’t have a reasonable explanation for stopping Palmer other than racial profiling.
After they demanded to see his ID, according to Palmer, the officers said they stopped him because he walked into an area where he wasn’t visible on the store’s security cameras.
Of course, that explanation doesn’t make much sense as customers always drift in and out of security camera blind spots without even realizing it.
He was allowed to go on his way after he showed the officers the credit cards he used to make the purchase, as well as his receipt.
While management at Macy’s was ready to pass the blame on to the police officers, they didn’t show much remorse or concern about the incident.
Palmer said he went back to the store the next day to complain but was brushed off by a manager who told him that the officers come into the store often to monitor their surveillance cameras, even when they don’t have permission to do so.
As for the NYPD authorities, one lieutenant at the midtown south station house said that the officers were merely “doing their jobs.”
This is the fourth accusation of racial profiling brought by Black shoppers in New York within the past week.
“Treme” actor Robert Brown made the same accusations against the same Macy’s and two other shoppers accused Barneys New York of racial profiling as well.
A 19-year-old shopper, Trayon Christian, is suing Barneys after he was detained by police officers when he purchased a $349 Salvatore Ferragamo belt back in April.
Another Barneys shopper also stepped forward, 21-year-old Kayla Phillips, who says she was accused of credit card fraud in February when she purchased a $2,500 designer bag.
Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel is urging the Human Rights Commission to further investigate each of the cases because if incidents of racial profiling are sliding under the radar in New York, there is a much deeper problem that needs to be addressed.
“Each of these cases raises very substantive and serious questions,” Siegel said. “New Yorkers need to know that violations of the human rights law are simply unacceptable.”