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HBO star files lawsuit against NYPD, Macy's, cites racial profiling

By Rande Iaboni, CNN
updated 8:21 AM EST, Thu November 14, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Robert Brown of HBO's "Treme" says he was accused of credit card fraud while shopping
  • He files a class-action suit on behalf of others in the same situation
  • Brown is 4th person to say they were targeted this year after shopping in New York

(CNN) -- HBO television actor Robert Brown filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the New York Police Department and Macy's Inc., accusing them of racially profiling him, according to court documents.

Brown filed the lawsuit as a class-action complaint, on behalf of himself as well as similarly situated individuals of color, according to the documents filed in federal court in New York.

Most known for his starring role in HBO's "Treme," Brown went to Macy's in New York in June to buy a graduation gift for his mother, the documents said.

After buying a $1,300 Movado watch, Brown was shopping for a pair of sunglasses for himself when he was stopped in the middle of the store by three men, whom he believed to be NYPD officers. They accused him of committing credit card fraud, according to the documents.

"They cuff me, parade me around the store, all the while maintaining, we do this all the time, it's a fake card, you're going to go to jail," Brown said on October 29 while recounting the incident on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

Hollywood couple stopped by police, say they were racially profiled

The documents state that Brown was put into a holding cell enclosed by metal bars for more than an hour and "berated and mocked by these men."

Once the officers learned of Brown's television and film credits, he was released, but not before the men attempted to drive Brown to his mother's graduation ceremony, the documents said.

Brown is the fourth person to say they were targeted after shopping at a New York department store because of race this year, and the second to cite Macy's as the store in question. The other two said they were racially profiled at Barney's.

"This suit seeks to bring a halt to this disgusting, discriminatory pattern and practice," the document said.

Elina Kazan, vice president of media relations for Macy's, said on Wednesday the company cannot comment on pending litigation, but it does "not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including racial profiling."

The NYPD did not respond to CNN's request for comment about Brown's suit.

NY attorney general investigating Macy's Inc and Barneys New York Inc over racial profiling claims

Student sues Barneys, NYPD, alleges racial profiling

CNN's Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

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