A young black man was arrested for fraud after purchasing a $320 belt from Barney’s, but after an investigation, it turned out that it wasn’t fraud at all. He purchased the belt with his own debit card and showed his own ID after saving up the money to buy the belt for months.
Back in April, 19-year-old Trayon Christian went to the Manhattan Barney’s store specifically to get a $320 Salvatore Ferragamo belt that he saw his favorite rapper Juelz Santana wearing. After making the purchase and leaving the store, undercover NYPD officers on the street immediately arrested Christian.
Now, Christian is filing a civil rights lawsuit against both the store and the NYPD for the incident. According to the suit, officers initially asked him, “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt.”
Even though Christian showed his ID when paying with his Chase Bank debit card, the cashier was still suspicious and called police. The suit claims that even after showing authorities the debit card, ID, and receipt, they still continued to question him for two hours. It was only after they called Chase Bank and confirmed the purchase that they let him go.
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“He’s never been arrested,” says Christian’s lawyer Michael Palillo. “His only crime was being a young black guy buying a $300 belt.”
The young man, who is a college student with no history of arrests, says that he no longer has the belt.
“I brought the belt back to Barneys a few days later and returned it,” said Christian. “I got my money back, I’m not shopping there again. It’s cruel. It’s racist.”
The lawsuit has recently been filed and the matter is still under investigation.