NEW YORK Dec 2 A shopper is suing Macy's
for $1 million over being handcuffed and thrown into a jail cell
at the retail chain's flagship store in Manhattan two days after
last year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The plaintiff, Rachid Bakhari, said the incident started
when he tried to return an ill-fitting belt he had bought for
$27, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday in U.S. District
Court in Manhattan.
Because the shopper had removed the price tags at home, he
followed a sales clerk's instructions to get a belt with tags
intact from the sales rack and bring it to the cash register to
finalize the return, the lawsuit said.
Suddenly he was handcuffed by security personnel who tossed
him into the store's jail cell, where he was held for three
hours, the suit said.
Bakhari in his lawsuit noted that "within its Herald Square
store, Macy's maintains a jail cell, not well advertised in the
promotions for its Thanksgiving Day parade."
Macy's did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bakhari was never charged with a crime, according to the
The jail cell has been mentioned in other lawsuits against
Macy's including one filed by actor Rob Brown, who stars in the
HBO show "Treme" and was one of several black shoppers who
accused Macy's of discrimination, saying they were detained by
police after making luxury purchases.
The New York Times in 2003 described a private jail in the
department store which contains "two chain-link holding cells.
People some of them minors, are led to this room every day,
where they are body-searched, photographed and then handcuffed
to a long steel bench."
Bakhari is seeking $1 million from Macy's for the "wounded
feelings, mental suffering, humiliation, degradation and
disgrace" he experienced during the wrongful imprisonment, the
"He never did get a belt that fit, even though he was
charged for one that didn't fit, and that was confiscated from
him," the lawsuit said.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Daniel Trotta and