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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Macy’s to enforce policy against racial profiling, pay $600,000

Associated Press

NEW YORK — A division of the retailer Macy’s has agreed to pay $600,000 and make sure its security officers adhere to store policy that prohibits using racial or ethnic profiling in detaining suspected shoplifters.

The agreement between Macy’s East Inc. and state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, and covers Macy’s stores in New York state.

Spitzer said at a news conference that the agreement would permit “individuals, regardless of skin color, to walk into a store and not feel like they are going to be followed, not feel they are going to be viewed suspiciously and not dealt with as second-class citizens.”

Macy’s East, which has 29 stores in the New York City region and one in the Albany suburb of Colonie, is a division of Federated Department Stores Inc., which is based in Cincinnati.

Federated shares were up 56 cents at $57.93 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The payment is designed to defray the state’s costs of examining complaints from black and Hispanic customers who said they were more often detained and questioned, searched and handcuffed than white 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.

“What we found was deeply disturbing,” said Spitzer. “What we found was those who were shopping at Macy’s, those who were black or Latino, were dealt with differently.”

Spitzer stressed that Macy’s had cooperated with the investigation.

In a statement, Macy’s East said it “does not tolerate discrimination and expressly prohibits profiling.”

“The agreement we have reached today is focused on assuring that compliance with specific policies and practices is monitored regularly,” the statement said.