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New York Investigates Macy's, Barneys on Profiling

State attorney general's office has 4 complaints from black shoppers
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2013 2:40 PM CDT
New York Investigates Macy's, Barneys on Profiling
The Rev. Al Sharpton, standing with Mark Lee, left, CEO of Barneys New York, addresses the media Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

(Newser) – Macy's and Barneys must provide New York state's attorney general with their polices about questioning and detaining black customers, reports the Daily News. AG Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation after receiving four complaints from black shoppers who said they got harassed for the sin of buying luxury items. (One recent high-profile case involved a teen who got handcuffed by police after buying a pricey belt at Barneys.) The stores have until Friday to comply.

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"The alleged repeated behavior of your employees raises troubling questions about your company's commitment to that ideal," wrote Kristen Clarke of the attorney general's civil rights bureau, referring to equal protection under the law. Barneys CEO Mark Lee, meanwhile, met with Al Sharpton today and suggested that police were the ones guilty of over-reacting in the recent incidents, not his employees, reports Reuters. "No one from Barneys brought them to the attention of our internal security and no one from Barneys reached out to external authorities," he said. New York's tabloids have dubbed the controversy "shop and frisk." (Read more Barneys New York stories.)

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