Monday, October 28, 2013



Dear Friend:
Actor Rob Brown has come forward claiming that he, too, was wrongfully detained by the NYPD for shopping while Black in New York — this time at Macy's. He played a teenage prodigy in the movie Finding Forrester and an accomplished jazz musician in the HBO series Treme, but even fame — and a valid id — wasn't enough to stop undercover officers from parading him through the department store in handcuffs, detaining him for an hour.1
His lawsuit, comes just days after two others have come forward alleging similar treatment by the NYPD outside of Barneys New York.
Rashad Robinson
Executive Director,
1. "Rob Brown, star of ‘Treme,’ says he was arrested at Macy’s after buying mom watch," New York Daily News, 10-28-13

Shopping while Black is not a crime.
Barneys NY
Join us in demanding that the NYPD immediately conduct a full investigation into the arrests made outside of Barneys.
Join Us
Dear Keith,
For months, Trayon Christian — a 19-year-old Black college student from Queens — set aside money from a part-time job to buy a $349 designer belt from Barneys New York.1 But in April, as he exited the luxury department store with both the belt and his receipt he was swarmed by undercover cops, peppered with questions, handcuffed and locked in a jail cell.2 While providing several forms of identification to match his debit card, police taunted Trayon with questions like "How could you afford a belt like this?" "Where did you get this money from?"3
Barneys issued a vague statement, disclaiming responsibility for Trayon's arrest, but more than 47 arrests have been made outside of the Madison Ave. store — hinting at the possibility of a dedicated NYPD task force.4 The public has a right to know the racial breakdown of the suspects arrested, how many were actually charged with a crime, and what role the luxury department store played in these arrests.
Clearly Trayon isn't the only Black person who has been stopped by NYPD after an expensive purchase at this particular store. Just a day after Trayon filed his complaint, 21-year-old Kayla Phillips has come forward and claims that she too was surrounded by undercover cops just blocks from the Manhattan store who pushed her up against the wall after she purchased a designer handbag with her debit card.5
Unfortunately Black folks are too often subjected to this brand of deeply offensive and humiliating treatment by security guards and police officers at the businesses we patronize. And in recent years, the NYPD has become notorious for targeting Black and Latino residents — subjecting our communities to thousands of illegal stops, searches, and frisks each day that lead to unlawful arrests, constant harassment, and in some cases, serious injury or death.6,7
Thanks and Peace,
--Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Aimée, William, Hannah and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.
   October 28th, 2013
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1. "Barneys accused teen of using fake debit card for $349 belt because he's a ‘young black American male':lawsuit," New York Daily News, 10-22-13