A group of upscale retailers and civil rights leaders crafted a “Bill of Rights” to protect Black shoppers from “Shop-and-Frisk” practices, the New York Daily News reports.
The list was unveiled to the media during a meeting Monday morning with Rev. Al Sharpton and executives from Macy’s, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and other retailers.
Though Sharpton said he was pleased with the bill, he warned that it needs NYPD participation to be truly effective.
“We cannot have an agreement with the NYPD without the incoming commissioner saying, ‘We agree to that,’” Sharpton said. He said he has reached out to returning NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton for a meeting.
While Bratton didn’t respond to calls Monday, a spokeswoman for newly elected NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio said the city’s next top cop will gladly sit down.
“Mayor-elect De Blasio has said repeatedly that his administration will have zero tolerance for racial profiling of any kind,” Lis Smith said.
Per the bill, any employee who profiles customers will be disciplined or fired. In addition, inappropriate language and excessive force in holding suspects is also banned, as employees must “respect the basic civil and legal rights of any person suspected.”
The stores will occasionally undergo tests to ensure compliance, and they are to implement the bill across the country, not just in New York City. The bills need to be “highly visible” in all stores, according to Kirsten John Foy, who runs Brooklyn’s National Action Network chapter.
“We left it to each store to figure out their specifics for posting, but it must be posted in common areas, available upon request and clearly placed on store websites,” he said.
Stores will have to place the information online and in their locations within a week; a few are even planning on promoting the bill through ads.
“The message, I think, is very simple,” said Macy’s VP Ed Goldberg. “We understand the gravity of the situation. . . We subscribe to the document that’s going to be released by the retail council.”
The bill comes months after a spate of racial profiling charges against Macy’s Herald Square and Barneys NYC. Four Black shoppers claim undercover officers accused them of credit card fraud after making purchases at the stores. Two of them filed lawsuits against the chains and the NYPD.