FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 25, 2013
CJ Frogozo, 310 570 2622, CJ@FitzGibbonMedia.com
Kayla Keller, 281 682 6212, email@example.com
VIEW PETITION HERE: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/shoppingwhileblack/
New York, NY — On April 29th, 19-year-old Black college student Trayon Christian was arrested outside of Barneys New York and accused of purchasing a $349 designer belt with a fraudulent debit card. Christian, who had set aside money from a part-time job to purchase the belt, was swarmed by undercover cops, questioned, handcuffed, and locked in a jail cell despite providing several forms of identification to match his debit card.
Trayon isn’t the only Black person who has been stopped by the NYPD after an expensive purchase at this particular store. Just one day after Trayon filed his complaint, 21-year-old Kayla Phillips has come forward to claim that she too was surrounded by undercover cops just blocks from the Manhattan store. Phillips says she was shoved up against a wall and questioned by officers after purchasing a designer handbag with her debit card.
In response, ColorOfChange.org, the largest online civil rights organization in the country, has launched a campaign demanding that the NYPD immediately conduct and release a full investigation of the arrests made outside of Barneys.
View the petition here: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/shoppingwhileblack/
Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org said, “Unfortunately Black folks are too often subjected to this brand of deeply offensive and humiliating treatment, at the businesses we patronize, by security guards and police officers. And in recent years, the NYPD has become notorious for targeting Black and Latino residents — subjecting our communities to thousands of illegal stops, searches, and frisks each day that lead to unlawful arrests, constant harassment, and in some cases serious injury or death.”
Robinson continued, “The public has a right to know the racial breakdown of the suspects arrested, how many were actually charged with a crime, and what role the luxury department store Barneys played in these arrests. In order to end the culture of police misconduct we must demand accountability for these discriminatory police practices.”
Barneys issued a vague statement on Wednesday, disclaiming responsibility for Trayon’s arrest. However, more than 47 arrests have been made outside of the Madison Ave. store — hinting at the possibility of a dedicated NYPD task force.
With more than 900,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.