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New York State Is Getting Involved with Department Stores' Racial Profiling Allegations

New York State is officially stepping in as more accusations of racism fly against Barneys New York, and now Macy's.
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New York State officials are stepping in as more accusations of racism fly against Barneys New York, and now, Macy's.

Reuters reports that New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is demanding that the department stores in question turn over their store policies for "detaining and questioning customers based on race," with a deadline of Friday.

We reported earlier this week that Barneys ran into trouble when accused of racial profiling by two separate young, black shoppers, both of whom were detained by undercover police and accused of using fraudulent debit cards; now, two more people have come forward with similar accusations against Macy's Herald Square, including actor Rob Brown.

It's not the first time Macy's has come under fire for this issue--the retailer faced a federal lawsuit in 2005, which according to the NY Daily News, ended with the company agreeing to pay $600,000 in damages, hire a security monitor, establish regulations on handcuffing, and record all detentions.

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Barneys CEO Mark Lee and Macy’s Chief Stores Officer Peter Sachse received letters from the head of the attorney general's civil rights bureau, Kristen Clarke, notifying them of the state's involvement. "Attorney General Schneiderman is committed to ensuring that all New York residents are afforded equal protection under the law," the letters obtained by the NY Daily News read. "The alleged repeated behavior of your employees raises troubling questions about your company's commitment to that ideal."

Because of the prior suit, she was particularly hard on Sachse, calling Macy's new allegations "particularly troublesome." She also implied that Barneys may have racially profiled more than just the two known customers.

Reverend Al Sharpton will meet with Lee today at the National Action Network in Harlem, joined by Hazel Dukes, President of the New York chapter of the NAACP, to discuss the recent allegations.