Civil Rights

Macy's settles racial-profiling suits with shoppers


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

Macy’s has settled various discrimination lawsuits that allege department store personnel targeted people of color for suspected credit card fraud and shoplifting.

Douglas Wigdor, a New York lawyer who represents numerous plaintiffs suing Macy’s, confirmed the settlements, according to the New York Daily News, but would not comment on the settlements’ terms.

Plaintiffs include Rob Brown, an actor who is black and starred in the HBO series Treme. According to his Southern District of New York complaint (PDF), Brown was stopped by three unidentified men he believed were New York Police Department officers at the Herald Square Macy’s and accused of credit card fraud.

Brown alleged that they stopped him in the middle of the store, refused his request to show identification and took him against his will to a store holding cell, where he was held for “upwards of an hour.”

The complaint, filed in federal court in November 2013, alleged that Macy’s engaged in a pattern and practice of racial profiling nonwhite shoppers. It sought class-action status.

According to the Daily News, the New York Police Department was also named as a defendant. A spokeswoman for Macy’s and a lawyer for the city also told the paper that the case has been settled in principle.

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