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'Treme' actor settles racial profiling lawsuit against Macy's, NYC

By Julia Lull, CNN
updated 1:55 PM EDT, Sat July 19, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Robert Brown of HBO's "Treme" settles lawsuit against Macy's and New York
  • The actor says he was accused of credit card fraud while shopping
  • He had filed a class-action suit on behalf of others in the same situation

New York (CNN) -- Actor Robert Brown has reached a "settlement in principle" in his racial profiling lawsuits against Macy's and New York, according to court documents and a statement from the retailer.

Brown, who appeared on the HBO series "Treme," made headlines last summer after he claimed that he was targeted because of his race while shopping at Macy's flagship store in Manhattan's Herald Square.

Papers filed in federal court Wednesday said Brown reached a settlement with both Macy's and the city of New York, whose police department he accused of targeting him because of his race. The settlement terms were not disclosed.

In a statement, Macy's Vice President of Media Relations Elina Kazan said the retailer had also settled various other lawsuits accusing the retailer of racial profiling. The statement did not identify the plaintiffs.

"The lawsuits by various plaintiffs who alleged racial profiling by Macy's have been settled in principle," the statement said. "Our company strictly prohibits discrimination of any kind and has zero tolerance for racial profiling. We value every customer who chooses to shop at Macy's, and we remain committed to ensuring that every individual who steps into our store feels welcome and appreciated."

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After buying a $1,300 Movado watch for his mother, 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 and detained him inside the store, according to court 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 in October, recounting the incident on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

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Brown was the most notable of several people who said they were targeted after shopping at a New York department store because of race last year and the second to accuse Macy's of the practice.

Brown filed the class-action lawsuit on behalf of himself as well as similarly situated individuals of color, according to court documents.

Lawyers for Brown did not return calls seeking comment.

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