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Constitutional Law

Civil rights probe launched against Barneys and Macy’s by state attorney general

Posted Oct 29, 2013 10:40 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Macy's Herald Square in New York City.
rSnapshotPhotos / Shutterstock.com

The state attorney general has launched a civil rights probe of Barneys New York and Macy's Inc. following claims by several black customers that they were stopped by New York City police after making expensive purchases.

In letters sent to top executives for both stores, Kristen Clarke, the chief of the civil rights bureau for AG Eric Schneiderman, reminded them that race discrimination is prohibited in places of public accommodation and called for them to provide information by Friday about policies for stopping and detaining shoppers, according to the New York Daily News and Reuters.

"Attorney General Schneiderman is committed to ensuring that all New York residents are afforded equal protection under the law," said Clarke in the letters, which contend that the "alleged repeated behavior of your employees raises troubling questions about your company's commitment to that ideal."

Executives of both stores previously expressed concern about the claims made by black shoppers and promised action to address any issues with store employees. However, they indicated that city police, not Barneys and Macy's workers, bore direct responsibility for the alleged incidents.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "Barneys hires civil rights expert, CEO says no customer of store should be accosted by cops"

ABAJournal.com: "Another famed NY retailer faces ‘shop and frisk’ allegations in suit by black actor"

ABC News: "Barneys New York Complaints Increasing, Lawyer Says"

Associated Press: " Barneys case stirs talk of 'Shopping While Black'"

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