Versace executive claims he was racially profiled in jaywalking stop

A Versace executive has claimed he was racially profiled by police who stopped and searched him for jaywalking in Beverly Hills.

Salehe Bembury, Vice president of sneakers and men’s footwear, was stopped by police in the city’s luxury shopping district last week.

Police bodycam footage shows officers stop Bembury after he left a Versace store before asking him if he has any weapons and forcing him to stand face to a wall while they pat him down.

In an Instagram video taken by Bembury, the executive claims he was stopped for ‘just being black’.

Versace executive Salehe Bembury says he was racially profiled after police stopped and searched him for jaywalking in Beverley Hills, California

In the bodycam footage, an officer stops Bembury by the side of the street and he says: ‘What did I do? I’m a little extorted right now. Oh I jaywalked I guess.’

The officer responds quickly, saying: ‘Right, right, right, right, right. So we saw you but we were going to stop you over here but then we decided we were just going to come over this way and talk to you.

‘How come you did that man?’ 

Bembury says he jaywalked and he doesn’t know what else to say.

A Beverley Hills Police officer tells Bembury to turn round, put his hand behind his back 'palms together, like you're praying'

A Beverley Hills Police officer tells Bembury to turn round, put his hand behind his back ‘palms together, like you’re praying’

The officer says: ‘Well you see the area you did it? You see how there’s a bus and stuff like that?’

Bembury explains he was using his phone’s GPS to find out where he was going and the officer asks if he has any ID on him.

As Bembury bends over to get his ID out, the officer quickly says: ‘Without reaching into your pockets. You don’t have any weapons or anything right?’

Shaken, Bembury says: ‘No, I’m just super nervous…’

Bembury says: 'You can do whatever man. This is embarrassing to be frank. What's unfortunate is I literally design the shoes that are in this bag and I'm like being searched for it'

Bembury says: ‘You can do whatever man. This is embarrassing to be frank. What’s unfortunate is I literally design the shoes that are in this bag and I’m like being searched for it’

The officer says: ‘No, no, I get you man. I’m not putting you into any custody or anything.’

Bembury asks if the officer wants to take his phone and the officer asks if he has any weapons again, to which Bembury says ‘I do not’.

He says: ‘You can do whatever you want man, I’m just nervous. Can I put my phone down at least?’

The officer allows him and asks his name before introducing himself and telling him to turn round, put his hand behind his back ‘palms together, like you’re praying’.

He tells him to spread his feet, before saying: ‘We don’t want to mess up those shoes, those are pretty nice.

In an Instagram video uploaded just after he was stopped on Friday, Bembury says he has been stopped for 'just being black'

In an Instagram video uploaded just after he was stopped on Friday, Bembury says he has been stopped for ‘just being black’

‘You said I could search you right?’

Bembury says: ‘You can do whatever man. This is embarrassing to be frank.’

The officer says what they ‘like to do’ is to pat people down for weapons.

Bembury says: ‘It feels a bit excessive. What’s unfortunate is I literally design the shoes that are in this bag and I’m like being searched for it.’

The officer says: ‘That’s why, like I said man, you’re not in handcuffs or anything. I’m just talking to you right now. Okay?’ 

He shares footage of the officer who stopped him.

He shares footage of the officer who stopped him.

In an Instagram video uploaded just after he was stopped on Friday, Bembury is visibly distressed after having to hand his ID over.

He says: ‘So I’m in Beverley Hills right now and I’m getting f***ing searched for shopping at the store I work for and just being black.’

The officer interjects saying: ‘That’s not what you’re doing. What you’re doing is you’re making it really different…’

Bembury says: ‘You took my ID, what’s going on. Do I have anything on my record?’

The other officer says he’s good to go.

‘I’m good to go, that’s what I thought,’ Bembury says.

Another officer hands back his ID and says he's good to go. 'I'm good to go, that's what I thought,' Bembury says

Another officer hands back his ID and says he’s good to go. ‘I’m good to go, that’s what I thought,’ Bembury says

Bembury captioned the video: ‘BEVERLY HILLS WHILE BLACK. I’M OK, MY SPIRIT IS NOT.’

In another video he posted sharing the bodycam footage, he wrote: ‘Fear.’

Bembury has worked as a sneaker designer for Versace for three years, previously working for Yeezy, and became vice president of sneakers and men’s footwear in January. 

Versace’s chief creative officer Donatella Versace reacted on Instagram, saying Bembury had been ‘stopped on the street solely for the color of his skin’.

She said: ‘I am appalled this happened to Salehe Bembury today. 

Versace's chief creative officer Donatella Versace reacted on Instagram, saying Bembury had been 'stopped on the street solely for the color of his skin'

Versace’s chief creative officer Donatella Versace reacted on Instagram, saying Bembury had been ‘stopped on the street solely for the color of his skin’

‘He has been a consultant at Versace for a long time and the behavior he experienced is totally unacceptable. 

‘He was stopped on the street solely for the color of his skin. Stay strong @salehebembury. Sending you love and support.’

Beverly Hills Police Department denied racially profiling Bembury in a statement on Tuesday.

It said: ‘Beverly Hills Police conducted a pedestrian enforcement stop at Camden Drive and Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills after Mr. Salehe Bembury was observed committing a pedestrian violation.

‘Mr. Bembury admitted to the pedestrian violation and told the officers he was looking at the GPS on his phone to determine where he was heading.’ 

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