rob brown

“Treme” Actor Sues Macy’s & NYPD For Racial Profiling

(AllHipHop News) Another incident of “shopping-while-black” in a New York City department store is making news. This time the retailer is Macy’s and the victim is a star of the HBO program Treme. Robert Brown is suing Macy’s in Manhattan Supreme Court for allegedly having him detained by police for almost an hour in June. Brown says Macy’s employees accused him of using a fraudulent credit card.

The accusation of illegal credit card use against Brown is similar to the cases of Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips. The two New York residents claimed they were discriminated against by Barneys earlier this week. Their situations sparked widespread criticism of the high-end store and led to an online petition asking Jay Z to end his business relationship with Barney’s.

[ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Derick Bowers Discusses His Jay Z Petition, Getting Charlamagne’s “Donkey of the Day” & What He Expects From Barneys’ CEO]

Brown was at Macy’s to purchase a $1,300 Movado watch as a college graduation gift for his mother. He was stopped and held by plainclothes officers who he says made the comment that he “could not afford to make such an expensive purchase.” He was not charged for any crime.

The Finding Forrester and Coach Carter actor also names the New York Police Department in his lawsuit claiming they violated his civil rights. He’s seeking an unspecified amount in the case. His lawyer says the lawsuit is about justice not money.

“Why was I put in cuffs? Why was I even approached?” Brown asked last night. “It was a slap in the face.”

New York City’s Law Department will review the lawsuit. Macy’s released the statement:

We are investigating the alleged claims, as we were just made aware of this lawsuit. We do not comment on matters in litigation.

[ALSO READ: Stars of “Notorious” & “Family Matters” Say They Were Racially Profiled By South Carolina Police]

Watch the Pix 11 report below.

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  • digitallife

    Let’s see folks defend Macy’s now like they tried to defend Barney’s.

    • Thenatural503

      Lol I just don’t get how when someone shows ID and the card goes through how they can say it was fake. Though as a black man It’s upsetting as a person who understands crime statistics I can see why these companies are so suspicious of black men. I’m not saying it’s right but If I was a business owner I might be a little wary of whoever the crime stats are saying are committing crimes in my area.

      I used to run a Domino’s Pizza and when people used CC’s I was more likely to ask for ID from Hispanics due to the amount of CC reversals or frauds we would get from people with Hispanic names. Does that make me racist or smart?

      • TALK_BOSS

        It makes u a hero buddy lol

      • anemia716

        it makes you racist. what you’re doing is considered “racial profiling”, which is a crime and also immoral. congrats.

      • Thenatural503

        So it’s immoral to use facts that are given to me to determine how I should approach a situation? So let me ask you a question. If you live in a city with a low population of a specific race but that specific race is responsible for 90% of the crime in your community it’s immoral to be wary of the people that are that race?

        I don’t know what fantasy land you live in but this is the real world and EVERY single person on this planet profiles either based on race, religion or an economic level. You can sit here and say you don’t but it’s a defense mechanism that every single human uses.

        So you think the fact that the TSA racially profiles people from the middle east is a bad thing? Stop trying to be Mr or Mrs PC. I’ll be damned if there isn’t a person in the world who doesn’t get a little nervous if they see a few Middle Eastern men board a plane they are on.

      • I think you are right….It’s mainly certain types of people who do certain types of things and these stores are used to it so they have to protect themselves too….If 10 black people stole items from my store then every other black person that comes in I have to watch them closer, it’s not racist it’s facts….You all can march and protest all you want, when you know dam well that you have items in your closet that were paid for buy a fruaduent transaction.

      • coach jenkins

        including you. just saying

      • Ray

        Then move to a country where there are less Hispanics you racist piece of shit.

      • Thenatural503

        It’s too bad you’re too ignorant to even know what the difference between racist and racialist is. Look them up before you start calling someone a racist and have no idea what the word means. I’m far from a racist.

      • Kweli

        Why even ask for ID if you are not going to believe them when they show it?

  • if people wasn’t so racist to black people this sh!t wouldn’t be an issue if it was done properly in a respectful way…its not smart to racial profile because sh!t like this will happen,it will backfire on you when messing with the wrong people..

  • Frank

    why was he put in cuffs? Was he under arrest? Or are cops just allowed to cuff you for no reason until they find one?

  • Well people don’t realize this but a bad economy means that department stores are even more trying to protect themselves from fraud…..We all know that the credit card scams are all over and now it seems like these stores are victims as well……I live in the real world and I know for sure when you see a teenager driving a $100,000 car with no job and tons of cash spending everywhere, you just know that they are doing something illegal, you all need to stop fronting, these stores are used to it and they are not playing around anymore…But more specifically to this situation he is suing in court and not calling on Jay-Z, because at the end of the day Jay-Z is no ones savior and who are you all going to call when it happens to Jay-Z? Yeah I said it Jay could get caught up too, what makes him so different, it happened to Oprah it can happen to any one of us…It’s just that we are the fools who continue to support these same stores.

    • Immortal

      This is a factual although one sided report only because we don’t know how many other races this has happened to. Nonetheless it doesn’t excuse the behavior of the stores, nor the police who call themselves “people of the people”, but harass only a limited segment of it. I would like to see the stop and frisk percentages from those that live/work in Manhattan versus those that live/work in the other boroughs. This is a L for all, not just those involved. In a lawsuit these folks will prevail, but the cops that did this will get a slap on the wrist, maybe a reassignment to another precinct (to become someone else’s problem kids), and the dept itself will feel it was slighted and more police BS to those not to have a famous last name. No retraining the force, no apologies, nothing, but a sudden rise in the intake at Rikers. And if you think I’m kidding, check out how much EACH inmate costs to house in Rikers. Someone is making a lot of money. And no it’s not the illuminati.

      • All I am saying is that if we don’t shop in their stores we will never have these problems…If we don’t do things to end up under arrest by the cops then they will never speak to us like that….I am not saying that this guy stole anything…But you and I both know that their are lots of blacks folks who stole from these stores once upon a time…Now the innocent is effected because of what a bunch of other no good black folks have done in the past….I am from NYC, 25 years old, been in plenty of situations with the NYPD and I have never been disrespected by any police officer in my life, it’s always been a respectful encounter, If I can do it we all can do it too.

      • Immortal

        I’m not arguing the facts of your statement, and I agree with what you’ve said now. No one goes to jail for committing a crime, they go to jail for getting caught. And while I have no need to shop in a store like that, some others will justify their need to do so for whatever reason and continue shopping there and at other stores like that. Not too many people knew of Tom Ford before Off Ricky and Jay mentioned him. Now how many of us can even afford one of his suits? Not too many. And on the cops thing, there is always going to be something because the states get money from the federal government for their prisons along with the state dollars. If there isn’t enough to justify having a certain dollar amount given, then that money will go somewhere else, and I’m sure the NYPD and the NY dept of corrections don’t want to loose a dime anymore than any other. But what you and I would call a crime, others would call “survival”. Where you and I could say get a job, others would say, why when I can make 4k a week chilling on the block? IMO the best “thugs” I’ve seen have a keyboard in front of them, wear suits and drive a Prius. These dudes aren’t thinking short term, and 4k is a 80hr payday after taxes. Average people that live in above average houses. Those are “thugs” to me. They have a long term hustle that pays dividends and has a retirement plan living in Costa Rica or France. But we allow the perception to become reality. We allow those that are marketed to us, to represent us. We would rather yell about what we’re not getting, than get off our asses and earn it. I could go on and on, but until the perception is changed, nothing will change.

      • I fail to understand who it is that you are blaming for this, the department store, or the NYPD? I really don’t think it’s the department stores because they have their own security and procedures….If the NYPD has their own loss prevention sting operation then that’s who we should hold accountable.

      • Immortal

        I’m blaming both in this the store and the NYPD. I would’ve said the credit card people, bit this happened to three different people at different times and I’m sure different banks. I blame the NYPD because of their underhanded practices that whether or not it affected either one of us is still wrong, and racially motivated. The store called, the police responded. The systems of both are broken and should be held accountable.

      • J. Smith

        Dior, I was trying to figure out how old you were, and thank you for telling us. Unfortunately brother, you are exhibiting a kind of arrogance. You believe that you have somehow “made it”, because you’ve managed to avoid the issues that others have fallen victim to. I received my one and only felony at 28 years old. I was harassed relentlessly by the officer who eventually arrested me, and his answer to me when I asked him what his problem was, was “what do you expect driving through this neighborhood in these cars?” Are high end vehicles reserved for certain neighborhoods? Certain age groups? By the way, I was a car dealer, not a drug dealer. In my case, whenever he asked me what I did for a living, my answer was “how does that information help you?” and I guess it eventually drove him to dedicating some of his life to “sending me away”. I was convicted of a crime, that only became crime after Pataki was able to get the laws changed (a few months before my arrest), and the arrest was wrongful, because I didn’t commit the crime I was arrested for. The bottom line is this, to believe that we as a people should learn to just accept this form of discrimination, and learn to live with the violations and harassment, because a few people who are the same color as us have committed crimes, is nothing short of STUPID! People of all colors are arrested everyday, I have been to prison, and believe me, it is not predominantly black, as mainstream media would have you believe. We are however the only race constantly profiled and violated on such a large scale, and made to believe it is our own fault. When Italians are accused of being involved in organized crime, they rise up as a people. When Muslims are targeted by anti terrorist agencies, they rise up as a people. When blacks are targeted by every law enforcement agency on the face of the earth, we say it is “hip hop, deadbeat dads, boosters, drug dealers, swipers, gang members, jay walkers…” We are the only race who make our own excuses for our constant abuse.

      • J. Smith

        They have successfully convinced us that we are animals, and your comment, and the comments of others like you, are the proof. Yes blacks commit crimes, but so does every other race. The point here is that we are the only ones who’s entire race is crucified for the actions of a few. How do you look at someone and decide what they can afford? Oh, and when I see a young man in an expensive car, my first thoughts are usually spoiled brat, inheritance, girlfriend with a great job etc. Still profiling, but not criminally.

      • As a business person, I can look at you and tell you what you can afford…It works every time…The black dudes who dress up with 10k chains, Prada bowling shoes, 20inch rims, 8 kids from 8 different women, while you are still collecting food stamps..O yeah I can tell…..My point is if you are receiving government aid then, it says only one thing, that you don’t have a job, and can’t met even the city and state poverty levels, so you are given aid from the government…Just like the kid in Barneys, he was given government aid in the form of workstudy at his college and instead of using it for educational reasons he bought a $350 belt…Now on the flip side we all can ask why do you feel the need to purchase a $350 belt when you are collecting government aid from a community college?
        Personally when everyone was wearing those gucci belts of $300, I wanted one and I have more than enough money to get it, but when I saw the price tag, I said no…And so I waited untill it was on sale and bought it for $150, I have my own online business and never been on any kid of government aid even in college.

      • J. Smith

        So it’s your argument that when someone pulls out a credit card and their identification, you can tell, as a business owner, that they receive some sort of government assistance? And this has nothing to do with race? The facts you learned after have absolutely nothing to do with the situation. Whether he could afford the belt or not, he paid for it legally. That is the only fact that matters. I apologize for even commenting on your comment brother. I thought you were reasonable.

      • TALK_BOSS

        Real spit….I can definitely relate with the profiling because of the vehicles I like to drive….getting profiled while shopping not soo much maybe cuz I’m used to it….I’m mad about the $350 a day job I loss cuz certain people didn’t think I deserved it smh

      • My age only proves that you don’t have to be 40+ years old to have common sense…I understand what you are saying and you are correct…But all I am saying if we don’t ever support these major department stores we can impact their sales in a large way and prove to them that they need us more then we need them…My thing is this why do we always have to pull the race card? If this plays out in court and Macy’s can provide proof that this is the system they use for everyone then your logic goes out the window….I pray for the day that we as people would purposely walk past certain stores and not go in, not because we can’t but because we won’t…That would make our ancestors feel like what they did for us had a real solid learning outcome.

    • Seriously

      part of your statement is correct the other part is just foolish, if the customer had an id or ids to support the use of his form of payment than the merchant is covered they did due diligence to ensure it was the right person. Macys, and Barneys sell high end items all the time one has to ask what was so different about this purchase that prompted such an extreme reaction. People like you who believe that “its because im black” doesnt actually happen anymore can stay delusional if you would like but I prefer the truth. I neither subscribe idea that because your black you should have to jump through hoops because people choose to generalize and stereotype all blacks and one of us is the image of all of us. A teenager driving a $100,000 car has nothing to do with macys, neither do you have to try and relate a drug dealer(as your assuming) to a man thats buying a $1300 watch (its not a $300,000 piaget) which in a relative sense is really not that expensive. I get tired of black people sympathizing with bigots, and racists. There is due process to follow if you truely feel “every young black person who is well off” something must be up but this nonsense was ridiculous demeaning and no matter delusional you cant deny that.

  • Papi Peligro

    Alright Saks Barney’s 1 thing. Ragedy old Macy’s. Come on dawg. I would be heated 1 hour I got photo id and you arrest me for fraud. Yeah you deserve to get sued.

    • WTF— are talking about “The Macys on 34th Street in Manhattan New York” the biggest retail store in the world…You need to do your homework

  • $31339281

    Only Way to get them stop profiling…… GET EM

  • Money_First

    The bottom line is people need to stop spending there money with these retailers!! Fu*k’em!! Keep it movin and figure out another way to get your goods…They have already showed you they don’t give a damn about us but yet we still frequent these stores…I wouldn’t stop in Macy’s to use the fu*kin’ bathroom!!

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