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By Derick BowersBrooklyn, New YorkSign Derick's PetitionRight as Jay Z prepares to roll out a new partnership with Barneys New York for the holiday shopping season, I've been disappointed to hear new allegations about how the retailer treats young black consumers. Recently, we have learned the shocking news that a young college student Trayon Christian (a black male) was arrested in NYC after making a $350 purchase at Barneys New York. According to The Post, following his purchase, he was stopped by police officers, allegedly called by a Barneys sales clerk, who believed the transaction was fraudulent. After hours being held in a precinct cell, Trayon was released with no charges. Just days later, Kayla Phillips, a 21-year-old black woman, came forward with her similar story of discrimination. Kayla says that she was surrounded by police and questioned after she purchased a handbag from the store. She was also incorrectly accused of using a fraudulent card. We can no longer tolerate blatant prejudice and discrimination. It is clear that the minority buying power is devalued by some. We must withdraw support to those who will not support us. I've been a lifelong Jay Z fan. Jay Z is currently in partnership with Barneys New York for the release of his holiday collection -- called "A New York Holiday" (or BNY SCC). Barneys lacks any connection with the black and hip-hop community. And without his vast wealth and brand power, they would see him the same as they see Trayon Christian. Jay Z should be appalled by Barneys actions, and withdraw all support from them. If he does this, he will send a clear message to all corporations that are likeminded, that this behavior cannot be tolerated any longer. Please join me in calling on Jay Z to withdraw his support from Barneys New York because of this discrimination. Sign Petition
Radio Facts: This is one of those stories that really make you say WTF or maybe ponder the question, what year is this?In the post-racial Obama era, (sarcasm), a 19-year-old college student from Queens says he was handcuffed and locked up in a holding cell after he purchased, YES, I said purchased a $350 designer belt at Barneys on New York's Madison Avenue because he is "a young black man."Trayon Christian told NBC 4 New York on Wednesday that he saved up enough money from a part-time job for weeks to buy a Salvatore Ferragamo belt at Barneys. I wouldn't personally buy a $350 belt but hey if that is what you want and you have the money, so be it.Back to the lecture at hand. When he went to the store to buy the belt in April, he says the checkout clerk asked to see his identification. After the sale went through with absolutely no problems or red flags, Trayon left the store. The college student was approached by police about a block away, and asked "how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt," according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court.Police officers apparently took Christian to the local precinct, where he showed police his identification, as well as his debit card and the receipt for the belt, the lawsuit says. Police believed Christian's identification was fake, and eventually called his bank, which verified that he was indeed exactly who he said he was and the purchase was absolutely authorized. At that point Trayon Christian, who has never been arrested and has no record, was released.Trayon was quoted as saying, "Why me? I guess because I'm a young black man, and you know, people do a credit card scam so they probably thought that I was one of them.""They probably think that black people don't have money like that."Trayon actually returned the belt to Barneys after the ordeal because he says he "didn't want to have nothing to do with it." He is now suing the city and Barneys for an undisclosed amount as a result of "great physical and mental distress and humiliation." Christian's attorney, Michael Palillo, told the Post, "His only crime was being a young black man."Barneys said in a statement Wednesday that none of its employees was involved in any action with Christian other than the sale, and added that the store "has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination."