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Forum examines 'shop-and-frisk' allegations

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Civil rights activists and representatives from retailers met on neutral ground -- a church on 55th Street in the Fifth Avenue shopping district -- to discuss allegations the department stores racially profile their shoppers. Barney's and Macy's have denied the allegations saying they have no tolerance for racial discrimination.

Reps from the New York State Retailers Council and executives from Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Barneys, Banana Republic, the Gap, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, and Lord and Taylor attended.

They were meeting because African American shoppers Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips have claimed they were racially profiled and then detained at Barneys even though they had receipts for their purchases. Then HBO actor Ron Brown was detained at Macy's.

The Rev. Al Sharpton was among the leaders. He had said he wants to see hard data on which shoppers are tracked and why.

On the agenda was providing security information to the civil rights leaders on shop lifting and coordinating with police.

One key group not present: The NYPD. S

Shoplifting is a multimillion-dollar problem at Macy's, but previous studies show most of it is done by employees.

The retailers and civil rights activists will meet again twice next week to try to resolve their issues. The holiday shopping season is approaching and that is the busiest season for retailers. This holiday shopping season is short -- only 26 days -- so an economic boycott would be financially devastating.

With MyFoxNY.com staff


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