New York Post – by Amber Sutherland and Bruce Golding
Many of the city’s major clothing stores tried to defuse the “shop and frisk” scandal on Monday by agreeing to an anti-profiling policy demanded by civil-rights activists led by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Barneys, Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and the Gap are among the retailers that promised to post and abide by a “Customers’ Bill of Rights” in the wake of allegations that some black shoppers were targeted for questioning by cops after purchasing pricey items.
The move followed a sluggish start to the Christmas shopping season, which is unusually short this year due to late date on which Thanksgiving fell last month.
The one-page document, drafted by the Retail Council of New York State, declares: “Profiling is an unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated.”
It says each store in question “is committed to ensuring that all shoppers, guests and employees are treated with respect and dignity and are free from unreasonable searches, profiling and discrimination of any kind,” and that the stores will use “internal programs to test compliance with our strict prohibition against profiling practices.”
“Employees who violate the company’s prohibition on profiling will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment,” it adds.
The “Customers’ Bill of Rights” sign will also include phone numbers for the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the state Division of Human Rights and the manager of each store in which it’s hung.
During a news conference at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan on Monday, Sharpton said he hoped that the signs would go up this week.
Sharpton — who met with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and incoming Police Commissioner Bill Bratton over the weekend — also said he had requested another sit-down with Bratton to discuss the issue.
“This is the beginning of a process, it’s not the conclusion of a process,” he said.
Macy’s spokesman Ed Goldberg said his company — which faces a potential class-action profiling suit filed by “Treme” actor Robert Brown — understood “the gravity of the situation.
“We subscribe to the document…and we look forward to welcoming everyone as a customer at Macy’s,” he added.
Barneys — which publicly apologized and launched an internal review after two young black shoppers sued over claims they were profiled at the Upper East Side store — did not send a representative to the news conference.
Sharpton said his National Action Network, “as well as the city,” would monitor compliance, and he urged anyone who felt they were profiled to contact civil-rights groups or the city.