Business owners in North Carolina might be interested in this story of racial profiling in New York. Last June, an African-American actor on the HBO series “Treme”was handcuffed and confined to a cell at the Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan. The young man was being detained as the result of an employee accusing him of credit card fraud. The actor has stated that both police officers and the employee found it unbelievable that a young black man would be able to afford a watch that cost $1,300 unless he had stolen somebody’s credit card.
According to the lawsuit the actor filed, police officers later realized their mistake, apologized and offered the actor a police escort complete with flashing lights. His attorney stated that had he not been a well-known actor he could have been kept in custody while they wrongfully charged him with a crime.
The young actor filed a racial profiling lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court against the New York City Police Department and Macy’s. He withdrew that suit in October in favor of filing a suit seeking class-action status in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Whether or not this will be granted is up to a federal judge to decide. Macy’s settled similar previous claims in 2005 for handcuffing and detaining customers who were racially profiled.
In this case, better training of personnel regarding racial profiling could have benefited the department store, especially since they had to pay out in the past for the same issue. This and other types of business litigation could possibly be avoided by the establishment of appropriate conduct and other human resources guidelines.
Source: NBC News, ““Treme” actor pursues class-action profiling lawsuit vs Macy’s“, November 13, 2013