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Barneys to monitor police watching shoppers

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(AP) (AP)
By KAREN MATTHEWS

Barneys New York says it will start monitoring the police as they monitor shoppers in its flagship Manhattan store.

An internal Barneys memo sent to store security staff Tuesday said Barneys would start keeping a log of which police officers use its security room. The memo obtained by The Associated Press said Barneys would maintain video and audio surveillance of the room where security staff and police watch monitors set up around the store.

The memo also said that any officer using the room shall provide "a reasonable description of the individual or individuals that they wish to place under surveillance and the reason the police wish to place such individuals under surveillance."

It comes after two black shoppers said they were racially profiled at Barneys earlier this year.

Trayon Christian sued Barneys, saying he was accused of fraud after using his debit card to buy a $349 Ferragamo belt in April. Kayla Phillips filed a notice saying she would sue after she was stopped by detectives outside the store when she bought a $2,500 Celine handbag in February.

In a review commissioned by Barneys and released last week, an attorney found that the luxury store does not have a written or unwritten policy to profile customers based on race and did not initiate any police action against the two customers.

The New York Police Department has said that in both cases it took action against the shoppers after conferring with Barneys employees. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has said officers don't just hang out at department stores but are there investigating crimes.

An NYPD spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the Barneys memo.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said that the memo "seems like a big step forward," but that his National Action Network is still reviewing it.

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