Trayon Christian isn’t the only black shopper in NYC going after the luxury retailer and NYPD. Kayla Phillips, 21 and a nursing student from Canarsie, says she was stopped by four plainclothes cops after using her debit card to purchase a $2,500 orange Céline bag in February.

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Phillips said everything went fine with her purchase. She used her temporary Bank of America debit card and walked out of the Madison Avenue store with the coveted bag. Three blocks later she was surrounded by cops.

“There were three men and a woman,” she recalled. “Two of them attacked me and pushed me against a wall, and the other two appeared in front of me, blocking the turnstile.”

“They were very rough,” said Phillips. “They kept asking me what I bought and saying, ‘Show us your card.’ I didn’t know what was happening.” To Phillips advantage, she had her Bank of America letter in her purse that came with her temporary card and showed it to the officers.

In a similar fashion to Christian’s story, Phillips was asked to give her life story. Where did she get the money to buy the bag? What was she doing in Manhattan? The cop even questioned Phillips about the Chanel bag she was already using.

Yesterday,  Barneys released a statement about the Christian incident via Twitter, stating they had nothing to do with his arrest. “It is clear that no employee of Barneys New York was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale . . . . We are very sorry that any customer of our store would have this experience,” the statement read.

Phillip’s mother, Wendy Elie, was told by Barneys security guards the store has law enforcement on patrol inside the store — part of an NYPD fraud task force. A New York Daily News source confirmed that it was true. The NYPD said there were 53 grand larceny complaints for credit card fraud at the Madison Ave. store and more than 47 arrests.

Makes you wonder what the racial breakdown of those arrests were. And how many of them were actual employees.

Phillips has filed a $5 million notice of claim with the city of her intention to sue the NYPD.

And to the people with the cheap seats at Metlife Stadium (Nikkoli won for best comment yesterday), if you hadn’t learned from yesterday’s story about Christian, here’s a rundown:

A) It’s her money to do what she wants to do with it

B) It’s her money to do what she wants to do with it

C)It’s her money to do what she wants to do with it.

D) All of the above.


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  • Starla

    I think Celine was one of the fashion houses that was outed for not using Black models. So both the manufacturer and the seller are not interested in serving Black clientele.

    Why are we continuing to enrich these people. Yes, it’s your money to spend as you choose, but at least think for a moment when you are about to spend. Stop enriching and advancing these people.

  • Sahr

    And here is my story: Not exactly the same situation, but weirdly it involved an expensive belt, racial profiling, an over-zeoulous racist sales clerk, and ended up with me actually spending a night in jail, hiring a lawyer, and having to travel back to LA for court before the case was thrown out. I was in LA from NYC had been shopping and spent a few thousand dollars. Went back to the store the next day to return one item. I was also wearing one item I had purchased the day before (a tank top), which I had neglected to pull the sales tag from. I was also wearing a denim mini skirt and flip-flops. The clerk asked me if I had gotten the shirt there. I said yes. Then went to try on some items in the dressing room she set me up in. Once I started to change I noticed the tag and pulled it off. I figured that was why she had asked about the shirt but still didn’t take it as a suspicion of any kind. I decided against the items I’d tried and I continued shopping. A different sales clerk began helping me and showed me a belt. She put it around my waist. I was wearing only a denim mini skirt and flip-flops in addition to the tank top (had I stolen this $20 tank I must have walked into the store topless or stripped in the middle of the store and discarded my own shirt under a rack). At this point my friend asked if I had gotten our parking validated. I said no then looked for the ticket to do so. I couldn’t find it. We began re-tracing our steps and asking all of the sales people if they’d seen it and asking them if we might check the dressing rooms we’d been in. We looked on all the floors we’d been on. Finally, my friend said it might be in the car. So we went down to the parking lot level which is attached to the store (its private lot). Once at that level we stepped out of the elevator and saw a ticket lying just there on the ground. We inspected it and realized it must be ours from the time stamp. We started back into the elevator to go back into the store and thats when the store security convened on me. I was totally indignant when they kept asking me if I had anything that belonged to the store. I was sure this was about the tank top and I had the the receipt for that top and the other items I had purchased on my person. These items totaled in the thousands as I mentioned before. But then they asked, “you don’t have a green belt?”. I looked down realizing I still had the belt on. I explained the story, questioned them as to why they would be trying to arrest someone who was walking INTO their store with their merchandise. I pointed out that I hadn’t even left the premises technically as the parking lot was part of the store. They said the parking lot had different owners. But you share an elevator? And I had literally only taken one step off of the elevator before turning back into it. I advised them to question the several sales people who had been aware that we were looking for our ticket, that the sales person had put the belt on me herself, that this simple investigation and a review of their surveillance footage would certainly prove my story. I produced my receipt for the other items (they did think I stole the shirt too). They tried to make me sign a document stating that I had left the store with their property intentionally without paying for it. I refused. Accused them of profiling. Told them I was certain a white woman in the exact circumstance would never be sitting there. I told them how ludicrous the idea of me trying to “steal” an item in plain view across my tiny outfit that I could not possibly have imagined the salesperson forgot she put on my body was. They/she had obviously been watching me and could have easily reminded me about the belt earlier as soon as I left the salesperson who was helping me in search of a parking ticket I told her I was looking for. “Would you still be interested in the belt?” would have seemed simple enough. But, they were trying to “catch a presumed thief”. So, they called the police when I continued to refuse signing. I reminded the Mexican security, that there but for The Grace they too went. I was handcuffed taken to jail. It was a Sunday afternoon. I was booked, my clothes and property taken, I was put in blue jumpsuit and locked in the Beverly Hills jail overnight. I was arraigned the next day around 5PM and released with a court date. Missed shooting the film I had come out there to shoot. Had to travel back across country for court and the case was thrown out. I should have sued them. But, I had just had a baby not long before and was still having PPD and a also dealing with the demise of a 10 year relationship. Life was too complicated to add this crusade. And I loved Barneys and I truly wanted to believe this was an isolated incident and not a store policy. I guess I was wrong. I think if we filed a class action suit we’d find hundreds more similar cases.

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