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Barneys and New York City Settle Racial Profiling Lawsuit

The city, for its part, will pay out $45,000.
Photo: John Sciulli/Getty images

Photo: John Sciulli/Getty images

According to court documents filed Tuesday, Barneys, New York City and the NYPD have settled all claims associated with a racial profiling lawsuit brought against them in 2013 by a 19-year-old black man, Trayon Christian, who was accused of credit card fraud while shopping at the upscale department store. A spokesman for New York City's law department confirmed that it has agreed to pay out $45,000, noting that "Settling was in the best interest of the city."

Barneys hasn't responded to our request for more details on the nature of the settlement. In August of 2014, the retailer agreed to pay $525,000 after the New York Attorney General's office launched an investigation into its racial profiling and discrimination practices. That inquiry wasn't only incited by Christian's claim but also by a Dec. 2013 complaint made by Kayla Phillips, 21 years old at the time, who was asked by NYPD officers to turn over her temporary card after buying a Céline bag from Barneys and questioned about where she got the funds to purchase it, as well as the Chanel bag she was carrying that day. Under the terms of its agreement with the Attorney General's office, Barneys was required to hire an anti-profiling consultant, adopt new detention and anti-profiling policies around loss prevention, investigate customer complaints of profiling and re-train sales employees on the topic.

Of course, Barneys isn't the only clothing store — or store, period — guilty of following around non-white customers, examining their credit cards and questioning their motives in excessive ways. This lawsuit may be a wrap, but the problem of racial profiling in stores certainly isn't.

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