Civil rights leaders and retail executives met Monday to announce a “bill of rights” for shoppers. The list comes after a string of controversial claims made by African American customers while shopping at high-end retail stores in New York City.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said the bill of rights – hammered out by a task force of civil rights groups and retail industry execs – will help prevent future arrests of black customers who simply bought expensive items. The lists are to be posted on retailers’ websites and inside stores this week, Sharpton said.
Stores have agreed to post a “bill of rights” informing customers that profiling and unreasonable searches are prohibited. The document also states that store employees caught profiling customers will be disciplined and possibly fired.
The “Customers’ bill of rights” will also include telephone numbers for the city’s Commission on Human Rights, the state Division of Human Rights and the manager of the store in which it is located. Sharpton said the task force hopes to have a meeting with Bill Bratton, the city’s incoming Police Commissioner who takes over for Raymond Kelly in January.
The racial profiling scandal came to light in October after 19-year-old Trayon Christian filed a lawsuit against the New York Police Department and Barneys New York. Christian says that he was unfairly singled out and arrested after making a purchase from the store with his own debit card. Three more African American shoppers have come forward with similar stories.
View the bill of rights here.
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