Civil Rights

2nd black shopper plans Barneys suit, says she was stopped by cops after buying a $2,500 purse

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A second black shopper is planning to file suit against New York City and Barneys, claiming that she, like a black engineering student who filed suit earlier this week, was targeted for police inquiry after making an expensive purchase at the upscale retailer.

Nursing student Kayla Phillips, 21, used a new debit card, funded with tax refund money, to buy a $2,500 orange suede Celine purse. Then, her lawyer, Kareem Vessup, says, she was swarmed by undercover police at a nearby subway station immediately after the Feb. 28 purchase. The officers demanded to know why she had used a debit card that didn’t have her name on it at Barneys, according to the Associated Press, the New York Daily News and Reuters.

The officers let her go, Phillips says, after she showed them ID and a new debit card, with her name on it, that had just arrived in the mail. A notice of claim against the city says she will seek $5 million.

The store denied wrongdoing earlier, after engineering student Trayon Christian, 19, filed a similar suit and said it does not discriminate. Phillips’ mother told the Daily News that a store executive told her the New York police department has its own officers on the Barneys sales floor, and said Barneys did not initiate the claimed incident.

A city law department spokeswoman has said it will review Christan’s claim once it is served with the suit.

Meanwhile, a civil rights group is demanding a meeting with those in charge of Barneys. A spokeswoman said the National Action Network, which is led by Reverend Al Sharpton, will also picket the store if it does not take immediate corrective action.

See also: “Black student says he was detained for buying a $349 belt at upscale store, files civil rights suit”

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