*A coalition of high-end retailers and civil rights leaders came up with a “bill of rights” to protect customers from “shop-and-frisk” practices, reports the New York Daily News.
The list was released to the media after getting final approval Monday morning at a meeting that included the Rev. Al Sharpton and executives from Barneys, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor and other department stores.
But the issue won’t be fully resolved until the coalition gets the NYPD to participate, he said.
“We cannot have an agreement with the NYPD without the incoming commissioner saying, ‘We agree to that,’ ” said Sharpton, who has reached out to newly appointed Police Commissioner Bill Bratton for a sitdown.
While Bratton has yet to comment, a spokeswoman for Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said the commissioner-designate would be happy to meet with the group.
“Mayor-elect de Blasio has said repeatedly that his administration will have zero tolerance for racial profiling of any kind,” said spokeswoman Lis Smith, adding that de Blasio “deeply appreciates” the retailers’ willingness to adopt the new policies.
The bill of rights says that store employees who racially profile customers can be disciplined and possibly even fired. Vulgar language or excessive force while detaining suspects are prohibited. Employees are required to “respect the basic civil and legal rights of any person suspected” of a crime, the list says. Stores will be subject to internal tests to make sure they are in compliance — and the regulations must be applied nationwide, not just in department stores in New York City.
Rules must be “highly visible,” said Kirsten John Foy, head of Brooklyn’s National Action Network chapter. “We left it to each store to figure out their specifics for posting, but it must be posted in common areas, available upon request and clearly placed on store websites.”
Retailers have a week to get the information online and in stores — and some have even pledged to run ads publicizing the bill of rights to customers, said Foy.
“The message I think is very simple,” said Ed Goldberg, Macy’s vice president. “We understand the gravity of the situation. . . . We subscribe to the document that’s going to be released by the retail council.”
Monday’s “shop-and-frisk” forum grew out of racial profiling allegations that surfaced in October at Barneys and Macy’s. Four black shoppers alleged they were wrongfully stopped by NYPD detectives after buying pricey items at the stores.
The initial allegations were made by Trayon Christian, 19, and Kayla Phillips, 21, in October against Barneys. Both shoppers claimed they were wrongfully accused of debit card fraud by undercover NYPD detectives after buying pricey items in the upscale store.
Two more black shoppers stepped forward with similar claims against Macy’s. “Treme” star Rob Brown, 29, and Art Palmer, 56, a personal trainer, both said they were stopped by cops after shopping at the department store.
Both Barneys and Macy’s denied any racial profiling and pinned the blame on cops. NYPD spokesman John McCarthy has said detectives reacted to information given to them by store employees in each instance.