Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old New York City College of Technology freshman has an unusual story – and lawsuit – regarding a shopping trip he made last spring, according to the New York Post on Wednesday.
The African American college student bought himself a $350 designer belt at Barneys and one of the clerks in the store had Christian handcuffed, allegedly thinking the teen hadn’t paid for it because the clerk thought that he couldn't afford it. The way Christian’s attorney Michael Palillo stated it, Christian’s only crime was being a young black man.
Reportedly, one of the Barneys clerks had asked Christian for an identification card when he bought the belt and called police while claiming the purchase was a fraud. According to the lawsuit, as soon as Christian left the high-priced department store, undercover cops stopped him and asked him how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt. After being taken to a local police precinct, Christian showed detectives his identification card, his Chase debit card and a receipt with his name on it. Yet, the law suit says that he was told his ID was fraudulent and that he could not afford to make a purchase like the one he had just made.
In time, police personnel called Chase, received verification that the debit card belonged to Christian, and they set him free.
The belt involved in the lawsuit is a Salvatore Ferragamo belt which Christian purchased when he was shopping on Madison Avenue last April. He reportedly had been saving up to buy the belt with his savings from his part-time employment at school. Christian said he was inspired by Harlem rapper Juelz Santana to wear Ferragamo apparel.
Christian said he returned the belt out of total disgust over the way he was treated in the store.
The lawsuit, which sues both Barneys and the New York Police Department for unspecified damages, was filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court.