Arrest Quotas and Racial Profiling at Luxury Stores

New York state’s attorney general is launching an investigation into Macy’s and Barney’s after news reports revealed that blacks and other minorities were routinely being stopped by police after purchasing luxury items.

The Daily News reports that one of the reasons why this kind of racial profiling has been happening is because Macy’s may have a quota of “five arrests per week” and an “internal race code system.”

Plaintiff Ayla Gursoy, who is Muslim, said she was detained and arrested while shopping in the Herald Square store on Sept. 18, 2010. Charges were later dismissed.

In a partial deposition provided by her attorney, store detective Brenda Howard acknowledged five “arrests” per week was the target for security workers, according to the suit. Howard couldn’t be reached Tuesday. The attorney did not provide the full deposition.

Police quotas are illegal in New York (though, police officers and other reports have shown that illegal quotas still exist). If this doesn’t apply to security workers targeting shoppers, it should.

At Pacific Standard, Lauren Kirchner discusses the problems with racial profiling at luxury stores.

Photo: Pravin Kumar

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