Teenager Taken into Custody for Shopping While Black

Barneys New York and the NYPD apparently couldn't believe that a black teen could afford to buy a $350 belt.

By Aura Bogado Oct 23, 2013

Trayon Christian says he was profiled by Barneys New York, and then taken into custody by New York Police Department officers who couldn’t believe the young black man could afford to purchase a $350 belt. The college student has now filed a lawsuit in Manhattan’s Supreme Court against the department store and the police. 

Christian says that after he saw Juelz Santana sporting Salvatore Ferragamo gear, he saved up money from his part-time job to purchase a belt with that Italian label. But when he bought the accessory at Barneys, he was asked for identification. Despite having to prove his identity, two undercover officers apprehended Christian outside of the Madison Avenue store. He was handcuffed and then taken into custody. Police questioned him after he produced various types of identification and a receipt for the belt. The 19-year-old says that officers eventually called his bank, which confirmed that Christian was, indeed, who he said he was. Officers then let him go, and never filed actual charges–despite holding him for two hours.

Christian returned the belt in disgust at what happened, calling it "cruel and racist." He’s seeking damages resulting from the humiliation and physical and mental stress the incident caused him. 

(h/t NBC-New York)