‘Shopping while black’: Teen arrested for buying expensive belt from Barneys

An African-American teen has filed a lawsuit against the high-end clothing store Barneys and the NYPD after he says he was hand cuffed for purchasing a $350 designer belt from one of their New York City locations.

According to the New York Post, a Barneys clerk asked 19-year-old Trayon Christian for identification at the register. He reportedly did not believe the young man could afford the item. The clerk subsequently alerted the authorities.

As Christian exited the store, undercover officers approached him and asked “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt,” according to the suit.

He was then arrested and taken to the local precinct. Prior to this, Christian had no arrest record.

“His only crime was being a young black man,” his attorney, Michael Palillo, told the Post.

Christian, who is a student at the NYC College of Technology, purchased the Salvatore Ferragamo belt in April after he saved money he earned from his part-time job.

His lawsuit was reportedly filed on Tuesday in Manhattan, which says that Christian gave officers his identification, Chase debit card and the receipt from his purchase.

“In spite of producing such documentation, Christian was told that his identification was false and that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase,” the suit says, according to the Post.

Officers called Chase bank to verify the card’s owner and eventually released Christian once confirmation was received.

Christian told the paper that he returned the belt and says he will never shop at Barneys again.

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