Student Arrested For Buying $320 Belt At Barneys NY Officers Didn’t Believe He Could Afford

October 24, 2013  |  

Queens native and student Trayon Christian, 19,  is filing a civil rights lawsuit against Barneys New York after a humiliating and disgusting experience recently. According to the Daily Mail, the engineering student at NYC College of Technology went to the Barneys location on Madison Avenue back in April to buy a $320 Salvatore Ferragamo belt he wanted after seeing it one of his favorite rapper’s, Juelz Santana. After purchasing the belt through saving money from his part-time job, and buying it using his Chase debit card and ID, he walked out of the store. Unfortunately, soon after leaving Barneys, he was followed by police.

As the story goes according to his lawsuit, the same sales associate who made the sale called police afterwards to say that he/she felt that the purchase was a fraud. So when police caught up with him outside and confronted him, asking him where he got the money to buy the Ferragamo belt,  a confused Christian showed them his receipt. However, the young man was still taken to a local precinct for questioning. The suit claims he was held in a holding cell for two hours until things were worked out. When authorities called Chase Bank, they verified that the debit card he used, did indeed belong to him, and Christian was released afterwards. In response to the allegations, police say they didn’t hold him for two hours…just 42 minutes…

As for the belt, the 19-year-old said he returned it soon after the incident out of disgust:

“I brought the belt back to Barneys a few days later and returned it. I got my money back, I’m not shopping there again. It’s cruel. It’s racist.”

His lawyer, Michael Palillo, says Christian has never been in trouble with the law before, and that his only crime in this situation was being a young black man trying to buy an expensive item for a high-end store. But representatives at Barneys put out a statement saying they weren’t involved in the young man being pursued, and only sold him the belt.

“Barneys New York typically does not comment on pending litigation. In this instance, we feel compelled to note that after carefully reviewing the incident of last April, it is clear that no employee of Barneys New York was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale.  Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and we stand by our long history in support of all human rights.”

How much Christian is seeking through his lawsuit at this time has not been revealed, but someone needs to answer for such an episode. The fact that having an ID to match the name on your debit/credit card and a receipt still doesn’t keep you from being taken into custody is ridiculous, and the fact that police acknowledge that they held him all that time at all speaks volumes. What do you make of this situation?

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  • SNLHumes

    No matter what a person’s situation is or what they choose to do w/their $$$, these incidents are flat out WRONG! I would sue too!!!

  • Alexis

    Yep, now this is a case of blatant discrimination. Rolling my eyes at the fact that a student would spend $320 saved from a PART-TIME JOB to purchase a BELT because he saw it in a rap video smh. our black youth

  • brutus

    jewish sales assistant called police,these vile racist jews despise black people

  • Nikato Muirhead

    I used to work in NY Retail and I can tell you for certain, Barneys DID know and was involved, they had to know. Police don’t just get random calls from visa or AMEX when people buy things. Their security department or perhaps even the sales agent called the police. They tell the sales person to go with their gut. If they suspect anything they need to alert store management, and stall the customer to keep him in the store longer until authorities arrive.

  • Lisa

    He deserves every cent he gets. He clearly bought the belt, so why would they stop him?

    That’s why most times I shop online. These stores should be boycotted by blacks.

  • IllyPhilly

    Folks still gonna rush out and give them stores their money. God forbid somebody boycott.

  • Racismiswack

    Why are you idiots shifting away from the fact that he was wrongfully held????? If he needs better money management education, fine. That is not the point!!! If it was Suzy I bet your pigment deprived behinds would be pissed that she was held even if it was for 42 mins!

  • Dumplings from Flint

    Ok ok. So he should’ve bee keeping /saving his $$$ for student loans payback but… TRUTHFULLY, “HE CAN SPEND HIS HARD EARNED $$$ in ANY DAMN WAY HE PLEASES!!!” IJS

  • provokethought

    Enough! We will always be defending our right to exist and be treated fairly. It will be interesting to see if Jay-Z will go ahead with his advertisments work with Barneys.

  • Chocolater Reign

    SMH at people talking about this young mans money, as if he didn’t WORK for it. I say sue the store owners, the employee and their loss prevention detail, the cops and the city.

    • ScubaSue

      Then after he graduates, move out of NYC-otherwise he’ll pay taxes right back into the same system that disrespected him.

  • KAS

    Precisely why I shop online…no profiling there.

  • sara

    lawyer needs to sue. Sue Barney’s and the police for false arrest and abuse of civil rights.

  • Fair and Balanced

    The purchase really has nothing to do with this his color has everything to do with it. He can buy anything he wants if he can afford it and that is exactly what he did. However in New York where police have been given the go ahead to harass Blacks this is what should be expected right or wrong.

  • Dani

    Some people are missing the point. It doesn’t matter about him being a college student or not. Or if should spend his money on a belt or not. It’s about a young man who was being judge base off the color of his skin. He was guilty for being black at a store.

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  • cryssi

    Bullisht Barneys….Wiz Khalifa went through a similar situation with you folks a couple years back, and he returned every last item. Barneys you are racist, this is not the first public incident with you. You have definitely shown your true colors.

  • ChiTown Princess

    My aunt, who lives in New York and is a lawyer, went to Barney’s to buy a handbag she liked that cost over a $1000 and she told my mom and I that the people at the store looked at her as if she was gonna steal something from them. Then she walked out without buying nothing and vowed never to go back to that store and this was 2 years ago. Good for the kid for returning that belt, I don’t want something that remind me of racism and close-mindedness that I endured.

  • Sian Rose

    How were the police involved if a Barney’s employee didn’t call them?

  • Kristen

    Even though I agree that this is effed up on both Barneys and NYPD’s parts, and I’d never purchase a belt for that much money, I read another article that said he had his eye on that belt for a while and he was specifically saving up for it. Everyone deserves a treat now and then, but I do hope that this not only lets him know that racism unfortunately still exists, but that a $300+ belt is really a waste of money and he can put his money towards things that will pay off in the long run.

    I’m never upset that these places of business don’t hide their racist feelings. It let’s us know not to ever shop there! Doesn’t make it right but still!

    • stewie

      The price or his wish to own the belt has nothing to do with him getting arrested. He can spend his money as he wish, you are not his mother.

      • Kristen

        You’re so busy trying to tell me off that you don’t even realize that you agreed with me.

        • stewie

          which part of this did i miss….

          ” $300+ belt is really a waste of money and he can put his money towards things that will pay off in the long run.”

          • Kristen

            ” I agree that this is effed up on both Barneys and NYPD’s parts…”

            “I read another article that said he had his eye on that belt for a
            while and he was specifically saving up for it. Everyone deserves a
            treat now and then…”

            I made multiple points in my post. You only focused on one.

  • brony_gesserit

    Stay classy, NYPD. Stay classy.

  • thepreshest

    This is just sad. It’s a constant reminder of the type of world we live in. I hope he wins his civil suit.

  • Fool me twice…..

    Interesting. I remember a recent incident with Wiz Kalifah being profiled at Barneys.

  • sammi_lu

    In the statement Barney’s issued they claim that no employee was involved etc., sooooo how did the police officers come into play following the purchase?

    • Kam

      I was about to say the same thing. How else did the cops get notified if a Barney’s employee didn’t call them? Even if security called, aren’t they still an employee of Barney’s even if by contract? For Barney’s to be as old and as big as they are they need a better PR team than the one who put that response out for them!

    • stewie

      I think i read something about undercover security or police…

  • Val

    Racism is always on the prowl looking for unsuspecting victims. But, maybe now he’ll save his money rather than giving it to White designers and retailers who don’t give a hoot about him or any other Black people.

    • BabyBlue

      Thank you. Your a college student save that for emergency not a belt. In all honesty he can’t afford it. That money can start paying back student loans, buying suits for interviews a car.

      • Trisha_B

        There’s a black lady suing too. She’s 21, has 1 kid & pregnant again, & is in school. She spent her tax refund on a $2,500 purse. & they accused of her doing credit fraud too.

        • BabyBlue

          Really? Just shows peoples priority. People can buy what they want but $2,500 for a purse?

          • Trisha_B

            Exactly! If you want name brand, there are plenty of name brand things that aren’t as expensive. You know how many name brand purses i can get w/ $2500? Micheal Khors, Coach, Emma Fox, D&B. But if i was a college student, had one kid & another on the way, & working at home depot, no way would i be spending $2,500 of my tax money on one purchase unless it was a car or down payment for a house or something lol

            • BabyBlue

              I totally love Micheal Khors and I totally agree

              • Shayla A

                What does his priorities have to do with what happened to him, or the mother mentioned in all of your comments?!

                • BabyBlue

                  Have A Good Weekend.

                  • Me

                    Who the Hell does ” Babyblue” think he / she is. Your comments are as foolish as you are. You cannot tell someone how to spend their own money as long as it’s not yours. He could of brought whatever he wanted college or no college, you’re not paying for his damn college anyway. I bet you’re just a broke with nothing to do with your fat self. I hope that young man sues for millions and get the money he deserves. And as for people who are saying that Jay-z should pull out of his deal with Barneys why should he? Did this happen to him? why should he stop his business deal. Please people get your life or get a life.

                    • BabyBlue

                      Wow! Have a good day

                • Jae B2014

                  Im reading all the comments and it seems that everybody missed the point. What they did with their money was irrelevant. It’s their money to do whatever they please

        • Reggie

          $2500 for a purse?!? I’m a student and I’d feel lucky to eat a hot meal everyday. If it is credit fraud, the only person she’s defrauding is herself

      • monique

        You’re*. He goes to a CUNY, those schools are relatively cheap since its 3000 a semester and he was on federal work study which means he also got pell grants and NYS tap grants. I don’t think paying for college is an issue for him.

        • BabyBlue

          I was just speaking about what happens after college. That belt would probably go out of style by the end of the semester.

      • Ty

        No one can tell can/should spend whats in your pocket, dont try to tell anyone what to do with their hard earned money. He may have a trust fund or something. (Black people have those you know) and before you said he wouldnt have a part time job if he had that. Then that further goes to show how naive you are because some parents who have money still make their kids work. it instills a good work ethic, which is not a bad trait to have. NEVER judge a book by its cover, which is the same thing the Barney store clerk did.

        • BabyBlue

          Since it’s a public story I can judge and form an opinion. You have your thoughts and I have mine. In MY opinion it’s a waste.

        • ariesdollface

          thank you Ty! personally, i would never spend that kind of money on a belt but i might spend it on some other frivolous thing (like a purse or some earrings or whatever) & double-dare someone to tell me how to spend MY money that’s in MY pocket! hopefully this young man will win enough money to buy himself hundreds of $300 belts if that’s what he chooses to do. the real point here is that those racist cops were wrong.

        • IllyPhilly


        • Alexis

          Trust fund?! A child with parents that actually taught him the value of money and working hard wouldn’t blow it on a belt. it clearly states he had a part time job and saved to purchase it because he saw it in a RAP video. if that’s not predictable and tacky as hell i don’t know what is. He was definitely did wrong by that store and affiliates. But it doesn’t bother you a little bit that the media influences so many young black males to go out and buy name brand ACCESSORIES ( because they can never afford garments) to be hip/fly/cool/accepted ?? He’s an engineering major but he can’t feel proud until Barney’s is on his back smh. That’s something I see common among my friends

      • stewie

        That is up to him NOT up to you. He can spend his own money however he likes, with out being discriminated and arrested for it.

        • BabyBlue

          When did I ever say he couldn’t. I’m very aware that he can buy what he wants.

          • stewie

            It was implied in your comment !

            The fact you only mange to talk about his spending habit was very telling.

            • BabyBlue

              No, what I said was “people can buy what they want. ” in response to Trisha.

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    • IllyPhilly

      Yes, I was just about to say this!

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