A black college student claims he was arrested for attempting to buy a designer belt, and has sued the NYPD and Barneys New York as a result.
Trayon Christian, of Queens, was arrested at the luxury department store in April.
"His only crime was being a young black man,” Michael Palillo, his attorney, said.
The N.Y. Post reports that Christian, 19, was buying a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt, but following the purchase, was stopped by undercover officers.
The law enforcement members were reportedly contacted by Barneys sales clerk who believed the transaction that had taken place was fraudulent.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, states that the New York City College of Technology freshman was asked by police:
“How a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt?”
He was then handcuffed and taken to a local precinct, but later released.
Despite showing the officers the receipt for the belt, his ID and the debit card used, "Christian was told that his identification was false," his attorney said.
All because he supposedly "could not afford" to make such a purchase.
Authorities eventually called Chase Bank, which verified that the card did in fact belong to Christian, who had no prior arrest record, and they let him go.
Neither the store nor the police have offered additional detail regarding how the receipt, ID and debit card were all, allegedly, determined to be fraudulent.
Trayon, who saved up money for the accessory from his part-time job, said he returned the belt and never plans to shop at the Madison Ave. store again.
His story comes just days after another instance of allegd racial discrimination in which a black waitress was fired for blonde highlights at Hooters.
The lawsuit against the store and the NYPD is for unspecified damages. Barneys New York has posted a response on its Facebook and Twitter pages:
“Barneys New York typically does not comment on pending litigation. In this instance, we feel compelled to note that after carefully reviewing the incident ... it is clear that no employee was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale. Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and we stand by our long history in support of all human rights.”