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Macy’s Meets With Al Sharpton Over Racial Profiling Issue

The meeting follows one last Tuesday that Sharpton had with Barneys New York officials at the Harlem headquarters of National Action Network.

NEW YORK — The Rev. Al Sharpton met with Macy’s officials at the Herald Square flagship Monday over racial profiling allegations at the retailer.

This story first appeared in the November 5, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The meeting follows one last Tuesday that Sharpton had with Barneys New York officials at the Harlem headquarters of National Action Network, a civil rights organization he founded.

As reported, Robert Brown, an actor who stars in the HBO series “Treme,” said he was racially profiled at Macy’s Herald Square on June 8. He alleged he was stopped by at least three plainclothes police officers, accused of using a fraudulent credit card and was detained at the store. He has filed a lawsuit against Macy’s and the New York Police Department. Macy’s has said that preliminary findings of its own investigation showed no involvement of store personnel in Brown’s detention, which was characterized as an NYPD action.

The retailer said Monday, “Macy’s executives, led by chairman, president and chief executive officer Terry Lundgren, met this afternoon with a group of community leaders from the National Action Network, National Urban League and other organizations to discuss recent police apprehension cases in and around Macy’s Herald Square store. The meeting included a healthy exchange of information and ideas for continuing to foster equal treatment for all customers. Macy’s considers its loss prevention policies to be among the very best and most progressive in the retailing industry, and the company expressed its intention to continue to hold itself to a very high standard in its relationships with customers and law enforcement authorities toward an objective of providing the best possible shopping experience. The company reiterated its deep commitment to diversity and inclusion, and that it does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”

After the meeting, Sharpton told the Associated Press that he had a “brutally honest” meeting with Macy’s and that Macy’s needs to quickly make clear how it can guarantee racial profiling won’t happen because “we are not going to go through the holidays and have people shop where they are going to be profiled.” NAN had no further comment, and officials at the National Urban League couldn’t be reached at press time.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who is investigating racial profiling at both Macy’s and Barneys, has begun receiving documents from both retailers and is actively interviewing witnesses.