A second Barneys shopper has accused the luxury retailer of racial profiling.
Kayla Phillips, 21, says she was stopped by four plainclothes police officers who suspected she committed credit card fraud after she purchased a $2,504 designer purse from the Barneys New York flagship store on Feb. 28, 2013, the New York Daily News reports. The nursing student from Brooklyn, who is black, says she had been looking to buy an orange Céline bag sold in Manhattan, and when she received cash from her tax return in February, she took a trip to Barneys to buy the purse.
Phillips used her Bank of America debit card to complete the purchase and says she had no issues during the transaction. But close to three blocks away from the store, undercover cops at a subway station stopped her. “There were three men and a woman,” she told the Daily News. “Two of them attacked me and pushed me against a wall, and the other two appeared in front of me, blocking the turnstile.”
According to Phillips, they began asking her questions and demanded to see her ID.
“They were very rough,” said Phillips. “They kept asking me what I bought and saying, ‘Show us your card.’ I didn’t know what was happening.” At the time, Phillips was working at Home Depot and says she had just opened up the Bank of America account. She used a temporary ATM card that didn’t have her name on it to buy the purse. But she did have her official ATM card on her that had arrived in the mail and showed police the letter stating that she hadn’t yet activated the new card.
“They kept asking how I could afford this expensive bag and why had I paid for it with a card with no name on it,” said Phillips. She also said that officers also questioned her about the Chanel bag she was carrying at the time.
Phillips has filed a $5 million notice of claim informing the city of her plans to sue the NYPD. And since her brother is an NYPD officer, Phillips said, she knew procedures enough to be sure to ask for the detective’s names and badges.
This is the second story shared this week by a Barneys shopper involving racial profiling claims. Trayon Christian, 19, says he was singled out by Barneys New York staff when he used his debit card to buy a $349 Salvatore Ferragamo belt, ultimately leading to Christian being detained by police who didn't think he could afford the item. Christian has filed a lawsuit against Barneys and the NYPD for unspecified damages.
Treye Green is a reporter for The International Business Times and a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Green has shot, edited and...