Black teen sues over arrest after buying $350 designer belt - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Black teen sues over arrest after buying $350 designer belt

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK -

A 19-year-old college student from Queens says he was handcuffed and locked in a jail cell after buying 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 from a part-time job for weeks to buy a Salvatore Ferragamo belt at Barneys. 

When he went to the store to buy it in April, he says the checkout clerk asked to see his identification. After the sale went through and he left the store, he 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.

Officers hauled 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 still believed Christian's identification was fake, and eventually called his bank, which verified it was his, according to the complaint. Christian, who has no prior arrests, was released.

 He told NBC 4 New York that questions were racing through his mind while he went through the painful experience of being handcuffed and taken to a cell.

 "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," Christian said. "They probably think that black people don't have money like that."

He later returned the belt to Barneys because he says he "didn't want to have nothing to do with it."

He is suing the city and the luxury department store for unspecified damages 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."

  • U.S.More>>

  • Aid group: US doctor who had Ebola has recovered

    Aid group: US doctor who had Ebola has recovered

    Thursday, August 21 2014 8:04 AM EDT2014-08-21 12:04:28 GMT
    At least one of the two American aid workers who were infected with the Ebola virus was to be discharged Thursday from an Atlanta hospital, a spokeswoman for the aid group he was working for said.
    At least one of the two American aid workers who were infected with the Ebola virus was to be discharged Thursday from an Atlanta hospital, a spokeswoman for the aid group he was working for said.
  • Holder says he understands mistrust of police

    Holder says he understands mistrust of police

    Thursday, August 21 2014 1:23 AM EDT2014-08-21 05:23:27 GMT
    Police and protesters in Ferguson were finally able to share the streets again at night, putting aside for at least a few hours some of the hostility that had filled those hours with tear gas and smoke.
    Attorney General Eric Holder sought Wednesday to reassure the people of Ferguson about the investigation into Michael Brown's death and said he understands why many black Americans do not trust police, recalling how he...
  • Beheading spurs new attacks on Islamic militants

    Beheading spurs new attacks on Islamic militants

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 7:34 PM EDT2014-08-20 23:34:42 GMT
    Militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley and are threatening to kill another hostage in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq.
    The United States launched a new barrage of airstrikes Wednesday against the Islamic State extremist group that beheaded American journalist James Foley and that has seized a swath of territory across Iraq and Syria....
Powered by WorldNow

1336 Augusta West Parkway
Augusta, GA 30909

Telephone: 706.722.6664
Email: talkback6@wjbf.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.