Friday, October 25, 2013

Hollywood star: I was racially profiled at Macy’s

The third black New Yorker suing the NYPD for an allegedly unlawful stop and search while shopping is an actor who starred with Sean Connery in “Finding Forrester” and in HBO’s “Treme” – and he is after only justice, not money, his lawyer told the New York Post.

“The bottom line is…this isn’t about money, this about proving a point,” said Robert Brown’s attorney, John Eleftrekais.

“This is just something that shouldn’t happen,” he said.

Brown, 29, who played a jazz trumpeter in “Treme,” says he was illegally searched by undercover detectives at Macy’s in Herald Square on June 8, 2013 after purchasing a watch.

“Police officers ran up to him, arrested him, and then kept him in a jail cell in Macy’s,” his attorney, John Elefterakis told the Post.

After handing over his ID, Brown “was told that his identification was false and that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase,” according to the Manhattan Supreme Court suit.

The accusation is strikingly similar to what detectives allegedly asked a 19-year-old black student from Queens after he splurged on a $350 Ferragamo belt at Barneys this past April.

At the 19th Police Precinct Trayon Christian was asked “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt,” according to the teen’s lawsuit filed on Monday.

Elefterakis added that they had no knowledge of two other similar cases pending against the NYPD for shop-and-frisks until the incidents at Madison Avenue shopping mecca Barneys were published in the press this week.

Brown, born in Harlem and raised in Brooklyn, was educated at elite private schools including Poly Prop and Amherst College. A role opposite Sean Connery in the 2009 film “Finding Forrester” jumpstarted his acting career.

Brown says he was arrested after making a purchase from the Sunglass Hut within the store. He was detained by cops for over an hour and then released without being charged.

He is suing the NYPD and Macy’s over the incident.

The third woman who was stopped in a similar fashion is 21-year-old Brooklyn mom Kayla Philips who had bought a $2,500 Celine handbag at Barneys in February. She has filed paperwork to sue the NYPD for $5 million and is considering pursuing legal claims against the Madison Avenue shopping mecca.

A Macy’s spokeswoman said, “We are investigating the alleged claim because we were just made aware of this litigation. We do not comment on matters in litigation.”

Brown has also starred in “The Express” with Dennis Quaid about Syracuse University football great Ernie Davis and most recently graced the silver screen with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “Don Jon.”

Meanwhile over 2,400 people have signed a petition calling on the rap superstar Jay Z to drop a lucrative partnership with Barneys over the alleged racial profiling incidents.

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