After two black shoppers complained of being targeted by NYPD assigned to patrol Barneys, the luxury retailer has announced that they will be monitoring the cops in their stores to make sure they're not being racist. Cops, in turn, will monitor the shoppers to make sure none of them are stealing from Barneys. It's the circle of life, or something.
A memo sent to store security staff and SOMEHOW MAGICALLY OBTAINED by the AP (*cough* PR *cough*) outlines new procedures in place designed to make sure that no one but no one acts in a way that could open Barneys up to accusations of racism. Here's more on that from CBS,
[The memo] said Barneys would start keeping a log of which police officers use its security room. The memo obtained by The Associated Press said Barneys would maintain video and audio surveillance of the room where security staff and police watch monitors set up around the store.
The memo also said that any officer using the room shall provide "a reasonable description of the individual or individuals that they wish to place under surveillance and the reason the police wish to place such individuals under surveillance."
Of course, all of it could be easier if we could only rely on cops (and "upscale" places like Barneys) to treat all customers with dignity and respect without knowing they were being recorded by devices that might capture their fuckery and expose them to lawsuits. And it would probably be better if a key component of Barneys racial profiling prevention plan didn't rely on police to self-report why they're doing things; a savvy racist would just make up a reason for detaining an individual they targeted because they're black — something like "Individual suspiciously put hand in coat pocket near jewelry display" rather than the truth, which still might be "noticed a black person shopping, blackly." Barneys still hasn't taken any responsibility for two instances of reported racism that happened in the store recently, and this new policy further hoists responsibility for racism onto police and security personnel.
I'm sure the store's PR people hope that everyone can move on from this flap and resume not shopping at Barneys because it's obscenely overpriced rather than continue not shopping at Barneys because it's racist.