Salehe Bembury, the vice president of Sneakers and Men’s Footwear at Versace, has accused the Beverly Hills Police Department of racial profiling after they stopped him during a shopping trip.
In an Instagram video posted Thursday, the shoe designer films two police officers who he says “searched” him after he shopped at his own store in Los Angeles.
“So I’m in Beverly Hills right now, and I’m getting ------- searched for shopping at the store I work for and just being Black,” he said in the clip.
After they check his ID and determine that he had a clean record, the two cops let him go. However, one of the officers appears to accuse him of fabricating a narrative that is “completely different” from what the cop believes is happening.
“BEVERLY HILLS WHILE BLACK. I’M OK, MY SPIRIT IS NOT,” Bembury added in the caption.
Later on Instagram Story, Bembury explained that after he shopped at the Versace store and went back to his car, officers pulled up and accused him of jaywalking.
Though Bembury concedes he may have jaywalked, they allegedly told him to turn around and to not put his hands in his pockets. The cops also allegedly patted him down and took his phone.
Noting that he was “scared” in the moment, Bembury asked if he could record the encounter, as he was unsure whether he had the legal right to do so.
While Bembury says he is now “safe” and “good,” he contends that he “was doing nothing wrong” and was simply “casually walking down the street with just a big Versace bag.”
After the incident went viral, Versace’s creative director Donatella Versace posted Bembury’s video on her page, and said she was “appalled” by the situation.
“I am appalled this happened to Salehe Bembury today. He has been a consultant at Versace for a long time and the behavior he experienced is totally unacceptable,” Versace wrote. “He was stopped on the street solely for the color of his skin. Stay strong @salehebembury. Sending you love and support x”