U.S. News

Barneys agrees to settle discrimination lawsuit brought by shopper: documents

(Reuters) - Barneys New York [DBWLDB.UL] has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a black man who said he was racially profiled while shopping at the luxury Manhattan department store and questioned by police about a purchase, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.

Trayon Christian, a technical college student from Queens, had sued Barneys and the city of New York claiming his civil rights were violated when he was handcuffed and detained by police for two hours in April, 2013 after buying a $349 Ferragamo belt with his savings.

Christian’s lawsuit against the retailer and city, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, sought unspecified damages and the amount of the settlement with Barney’s was not immediately known.

New York City agreed to settle its part for $45,000, Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city’s law department, said on Tuesday. “Settling was in the best interest of the city,” he said.

The retailer could not immediately be reached for comment about the case. The store has said it has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination.

In 2014, Barneys agreed to pay a $525,000 fine, hire an anti-profiling consultant and re-train its employees in a settlement with New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

After the Christian case became public, another black customer, Kayla Phillips, also came forward saying she was stopped by police officers at a subway station after she left Barneys with her purchase of a $2,500 Celine purse in February, 2013. Phillips, a nursing student, had received a tax return and decided to splurge on the designer bag, her attorney said.

Civil rights groups organized protests outside the store and called for a boycott, saying the two customers were unfairly targeted because of their race.

Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in LOS ANGELES and Nate Raymond in NEW YORK; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell