NEW YORK — A small group of demonstrators gathered outside of Macy’s Herald Square store Wednesday to protest the retailer’s alleged racial profiling of shoplifters.
The protest stemmed in part from a racial bias suit seeking class-action status, filed by Sharon Simmons-Thomas in May.
“We’re here to make the community aware of the practice,” said Jonathan Irons, legal counsel for the Million Man Marches of New York’s Riverside Church “We see it as our responsibility to bring this issue to the fore.”
However, the retailer maintains that it does not engage in racial profiling.
“We don’t racially profile,” a Macy’s spokeswoman said. “We have strict policies against racial profiling in any form. We have detailed training programs for our security associates. There are five steps they have to follow before they apprehend or even speak to someone who they assume to be shoplifting. So this is something that is very upsetting to us because it’s something that Macy’s as well as Federated [Macy’s parent] doesn’t tolerate or practice.”
In addition, Rev. James Forbes Jr., the senior minister at Riverside Church, informed a Macy’s representative that the matter of picketing the store had not come before the church and was not an official position of the church at this time.
This story first appeared in the July 31, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.