And Now It’s ‘Shop n’ Frisk’

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NEWS FLASH!: Black Folks like and buy nice sh*t too!

Before you go trivializing these latest charges of racial profiling by the NYC Police Department and the luxury retail store Barney’s, take a look at the big picture here.

What speaks to the fact that racial profiling is an ineffective way to curtail criminal behaviour more, than the latest incidents of blacks who are stopped and searched after coming out of high-end retail stores for no other reason other than the immutable fact that they are black?

In two newly reported instances, the latest reported victims of an NYCPD shakedown for ‘shopping while black’, both produced legitimate credit cards, had their purchased electronically approved by the particular card lending institution, had their items bagged, were given their receipts and then left the store to go about their business.

But somewhere between the time the victims produced their charge cards to a Barneys cashier (or possibly much earlier), and left the store, a seemingly concerted effort by police and Barneys was made to track them down and accost them.

In the first instance, Kayla Phillips, a 21-year-old nursing student from Brooklyn, told the Daily News she was stopped by police after purchasing a $2,500 Céline bag at the store on February 28. After leaving the Madison Avenue store, and three blocks away, Phillips was surrounded by four undercover police officers, who questioned her for 20 minutes, inquiring where she lived, why she was in Manhattan and how she was able to purchase such an expensive bag. The young woman told them she was in the borough to shop, showed them her receipt, the card she used and an ID and the officers eventually let her go.

Kayla Phillips

Kayla Phillips

“There were three men and a woman [cops]. Two of them attacked me and pushed me against a wall, and the other two appeared in front of me, blocking the turnstile,” Phillips told Daily News.

In the second more recent, 19-year-old college student, Trayon Christian, was handcuffed and locked in a jail cell after buying a $350 designer belt at Barneys.

Trayon Christian

Trayon Christian

“They said my card wasn’t real, it was fake. They said someone at Barneys called to report it,” said Christian “The detectives were asking me, ‘How could you afford a belt like this? Where did you get this money from?’”

Barneys CEO Mark Lee claims that no one in the store in either instances, had ever alerted police regarding Phillips or Christian being suspicious characters.

The NYPD has, of course, stated otherwise. Both parties are named in lawsuits filed by lawyers for both Mr. Christian and Ms. Phillips.

In both instances, Kayla Phillips and Trayon Christian were asked how could they afford to pay for their purchases, stemming from a suspicion based solely on a belief that black people neither desire nor can afford to buy something ‘nice’ and that the only way they can be in possession of nice things is if they’ve stolen them. And that’s all there is to it.

Since this is NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg and others’ belief and he has handed down this belief as a mandate for the NYPD, he can thank himself for personally handing Bill DiBlasio the mayorialship come Election Day this Tuesday and a big shiny black boot in the ass to his man, Joseph Lhota.

Now, you can question a young person’s sense of values based on what you might think are exorbitant, utterly ridiculous prices to pay for a belt and handbag, but that’s their business and its their money.

The overriding issue here is that there can be nothing righteous, lawful or moral about denying a person’s right to shop, drive or dress anywhere, anything and anyway they choose just because God has deemed them to be born a brown-skinned individual. And a brown-skinned individual who’s broken absolutely no laws.

And “Yes!”,  it is indeed racist for anyone to think this way.


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