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NEW YORK COPS MAKE ARREST BECAUSE "HE'S A YOUNG BLACK MALE"
FROM THE DAILY NEWS
Barneys accused teen of using fake debit card for $349 belt because he's a ‘young black American male’: lawsuit
Trayon Christian, an engineering student from Queens, says he bought a $349 Ferragamo belt at Barneys and was promptly collared by undercover cops, who asked, 'How could you afford a belt like this? Where did you get this money from?'
EXCLUSIVE PHOTO: Trayon Christian, 19, shown Tuesday in his Corona, Queens, apartment.
A black teenager is shopping for justice — claiming snooty Barneys staffers and New York City cops racially profiled him for credit card fraud after he bought a $349 belt.
Trayon Christian, 19, told the Daily News he filed a lawsuit after he was targeted by staffers at Barneys’ Madison Ave. flagship store and detained by police because they didn’t believe a young black man could possibly afford to buy such an expensive belt.
The fashion-forward teen, who lives with his mom in Corona, Queens, is studying engineering at the New York City College of Technology, where he had a work-study job.
Christian said his paycheck had just been direct deposited into his Chase bank account, so he went straight to Barneys on the afternoon of April 29 to buy the pricey Ferragamo belt with a silver buckle and a reversible black and white strap.
“I knew exactly what I wanted,” Christian said. He’d seen the belt on a lot of his favorite celebrities, including rapper Juelz Santana.
He said he’d browsed the ritzy rags at Barneys before but had never bought anything at the store.
“It was a quick trip. I gave them my debit card, I signed my name,” he said.
According to his lawsuit, the clerk asked Christian to show his ID, which he did.
“I showed my state ID,” he told The News.
The clerk didn’t react as he signed for his purchase and left, he said.
MARCUS SANTOS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
After buying a designer belt at the flaship Barneys department store in New York, Trayon Christian was detained and then arrested by undercover cops who the teen says told him the card had to be fraudulent because he couldn't have afforded the Ferragamo accessory.
But he got no more than a block from the store when two undercover NYPD detectives stopped him near E. 60th St., the lawsuit said.
“They said my card wasn’t real, it was fake. They said someone at Barneys called to report it,” said Christian.
The male detectives — whose names he never learned — asked to see ID and look in his bag, he said.
They also asked him if he worked, and where.
“I showed them my school ID and my driver’s license,” said Christian, who was 18 when the incident allegedly occurred.
“I kept thinking, ‘Why is this happening to me?’” he said.
“The detectives were asking me, ‘How could you afford a belt like this? Where did you get this money from?’” he said.
He was handcuffed and taken to the 19th Precinct stationhouse, he said.