Black Teen Detained by NYPD for Buying an Expensive Belt

The New York Daily News is reporting this morning that a local teen is suing the NYPD and Barneys after he was handcuffed and detained for buying an expensive belt that police officers couldn't believe a "young, black male" like him could afford.

Trayon Christian, a "fashion-forward" 19-year-old from Queens, was excited to spend his paycheck on a $350 Ferragamo belt he had been admiring, so he headed down to Barneys' flagship department store, debit card in hand.

But just moments after leaving the store with his bought-and-paid-for accessory, Trayon was stopped by two undercover NYPD cops.

"They said my card wasn’t real, it was fake. They said someone at Barneys called to report it," he told the Daily News.

Trayon told the officers he had done everything by the book: Signed his name, showed the clerk his ID. But he was handcuffed and taken into custody just the same.

"I kept thinking, ‘Why is this happening to me?'," he recalled. "The detectives were asking me, ‘How could you afford a belt like this? Where did you get this money from?'"

In the lawsuit Trayon filed, the teen says he was in a holding cell for two hours before being released with an apology.

A spokeswoman for the NYPD said Trayon was "held in police custody for approximately 42 minutes" and was released "as soon as we determined that the card was authentic."

The exact duration of his detention matters little to Trayon, who says the April 29th incident left him angry.

"Why me? I guess because I'm a young black man, and you know, people do a credit card scam so they probably thought that I was one of them," he told NBC New York. "They probably think that black people don't have money like that."

Trayon has since returned the belt to Barneys and vowed never to shop there again.

[photo via Facebook, front page via NYDN]