Offending Merchant: Macy's upheld, supported or perpetrated the system of racism through a pattern of racially targeting Black and Latino customers shopping in its stores. For over a decade, non-white customers have come forward and alleged that they were profiled in the store and unlawfully detained. For instance, Maria Paez, of Venezuela, claimed she was racially profiled, falsely arrested, imprisoned for 3 hours and forcefully separated from her child after employees at Macy’s in Herald Square accused her of shoplifting. Her attorney, Herb Subin, said “when you go to Macy’s, you check your rights at the door,” In other instances employees have used force and racial slurs on profiled customers. [MORE]
In August 2014, after a high-profile investigation that lasted 18 months, Macy’s agreed to pay $650,000 to settle a racial profiling case and hire an independent monitor to address complaints from minority shoppers.
The New York state attorney general’s office opened the investigation in February 2013, after receiving reports from customers who said they faced heightened surveillance from clerks and security officers at the Macy’s flagship department store at Herald Square in Manhattan. Some of the shoppers were wrongfully detained. The issue attracted public attention when it was discovered that one of the shoppers alleging unfair treatment was Robert Brown, an American actor known for his work on the HBO series Treme.
State attorney general Eric Schneiderman said in a press statement that an inquiry found that Macy’s had “detained African-Americans, Hispanics and other minorities for allegedly shoplifting at significantly higher rates relative to whites.” [MORE]
In January 2005, in a settlement between Macy's and New York State rMacy's agreed to pay $600,000 in damages and change its security practices for the alleged racial profiling.
- New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in an investigation found that more than 75 percent of the customers detained at Macy's 29 department stores in New York state are black and Latino, significantly higher than the percentage of blacks and Latinos who shop there.
- Spitzer's office also found that Macy's staff were unlawfully handcuffing customers. Spitzer said his office investigated five stores, chosen at random after numerous complaints: one in Manhattan, two in Westchester County, one on Long Island and the one in Colonie. At one upstate store, blacks and Latinos were at least five times more likely to be handcuffed than whites by security guards, according to the attorney general's investigation
- "Spitzer said "what we found was those who were shopping at Macy's, those who were black or Latino, were dealt with differently." [MORE]