Shopping while Black is not a crime

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Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old Black engineering student from Queens, was arrested after purchasing a designer belt at Barneys New York, a luxury department store. With several forms of identification matching his debit card and his receipt in hand, Trayon was arrested, handcuffed, and locked in a jail cell by undercover NYPD officers. And apparently he isn't the only one — close to 50 others have been arrested outside the same store.

Enough is enough. Shopping while Black is not a crime. Please join us in urging the NYPD to conduct a full investigation into these arrests.

Here's the letter we'll send to the NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly on your behalf. We'll also send this message to the CEO of Barneys New York, Mark Lee to remind him that the practice of profiling Black customers is unacceptable. You can add a personal comment using the box to the right.

Dear NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Barneys New York CEO Mark Lee,

I am deeply concerned about a recent complaint filed by Trayon Christian who was wrongfully arrested by undercover officers after making a purchase at Barneys New York in April. Despite providing several forms of identification, this Black teenager was handcuffed and locked in a jail cell. Much worse, recent reports suggest that Trayon is not alone — that close to 50 others have been arrested outside that same luxury department store.

The surge in targeted profiling by the NYPD is part of a deeply racist, brutal culture that is in desperate need of oversight and reform. These shameful discriminatory policing practices cause tremendous harm to Black families. Unfortunately, far too many Black people have experienced the humiliating feeling of being followed around in a retail shop or detained by a police officer.

I urge you to conduct a full investigation of the arrests made outside of Barneys and to release information about the racial breakdown of suspects arrested, the number of people actually charged, and details about Barneys' role in these incidents.


[Your Name]

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