Versace VP claims he was racially profiled by Beverly Hills police during jaywalking stop
A Black Versace vice president is claiming he was racially profiled when stopped by police in Beverly Hills for jaywalking on Thursday evening.
Salehe Bembury, vice president of sneakers and men’s footwear at the iconic design house, shared two posts to his Instagram in recent days of the encounter, including a personal recording and bodycam footage from a police officer involved in the incident.
“BEVERLY HILLS WHILE BLACK. I’M OK, MY SPIRIT IS NOT,” Bembury wrote in a caption accompanying one of the shared videos, in which he said that he was stopped and searched after shopping “at the store I work at” while holding a Versace bag and using GPS on his phone.
Bembury captioned a second video, showing bodycam footage shot on Oct. 1, “Fear.” The bodycam footage was released by the Beverly Hills Police Department on Friday.
The recording shows Bembury’s interaction with two Beverly Hills police department officers. In it, Bembury says he’s “nervous” as the officer searches him for weapons. One of the officers conducting the search asks Bembury what he can do to make him more comfortable before calling him out for “changing the narrative” as Bembury starts voicing his thoughts on the situation.
“I’m just walking down the street, it’s a little ridiculous,” Bembury said in the video, calling the officers’ actions patting him down “excessive.”
Donatella Versace, chief operating officer of the brand, shared her concern over the incident on her Instagram page.
“I am appalled this happened to Salehe Bembury today,” she wrote. “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.”
The Beverly Hills police department did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.
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