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Activist seeks race profile promise

The Rev Al Sharpton says he and other civil rights leaders had a "brutally honest" meeting with the boss of Macy's over racial profiling and demanded that the department store spell out how it will guarantee the practice does not happen before the Christmas shopping season begins.

The meeting with chief executiveTerry Lundgren follows an incident in which an actor on the HBO series Treme was detained by police after buying his mother a 1,350-dollar (£850) watch.

Rob Brown filed a lawsuit last month after he said he was stopped inside Macy's flagship Manhattan store last June because he was black.

His accusation came after two other black shoppers said they were racially profiled and detained by police after making expensive purchases at Barneys New York.

In a statement, Macy's said it did not tolerate discrimination of any kind and "considers its loss prevention policies to be among the very best and most progressive in the retailing industry".

In the meeting with Mr Sharpton, "the company reiterated its deep commitment to diversity and inclusion", the statement said, adding that the company expressed its intention to hold itself to high standards in dealing with customers and law enforcement to provide the best shopping experience.

Mr Sharpton, who met the chief executive of Barneys last week, said civil rights leaders felt "particularly offended" over allegations concerning Macy's, citing a 600,000-dollar (£377,000) settlement that Macy's reached with the New York state attorney general in 2005 over racial profiling complaints. The store also agreed to change its security practices.

"This was a particularly biting meeting because we frankly resented having to come here again," he said.

Mr Sharpton said he was told by Macy's executives that the store did not racially profile customers and that Macy's employees were not responsible for Brown being detained by police.

"Barneys said they didn't make the call, Macy's said they didn't make the call," Mr Sharpton said. "Until they find the invisible man, we may recommend we be invisible in their stores."

The New York Police Department disputes those accounts. Commissioner Ray Kelly has said it is standard practice for retailers to call police if they believe crimes have been committed.

Mr Sharpton said Macy's needs to make it clear how it will guarantee profiling will not happen, because "we are not going to go through the holidays and have people shop where they are going to be profiled".

He said Macy's agreed to respond to his request by tomorrow.

AP

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