Salehe Bembury, the Vice President of Sneakers and Men's Footwear at Versace, has accused two police officers of racially profiling him while shopping in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.
According to Bembury, who shared footage from the incident on Instagram, he was walking from the brand's store with a few purchases on Thursday when he was stopped by two officers who pulled up their cruiser and stepped out to question him.
The officers accused Bembury of jaywalking and then proceeded to verify his identification before conducting a search on him, which is when he decided to start recording.
Getting Searched for 'Being Black'
In the video, Bembury explains to his 155,000 followers that officers were searching him for "shopping at the store [he] works for and just being Black."
While one officer can be seen defending himself accusing Bembury of "changing the narrative,, another officer had just finished checking his ID. "So you checked my ID. Do I have anything on record?," the shoe designer asks the officer, who responds with, "no sir, you're good to go."
After the incident, Bembury put up a story detailing the encounter, which he called frightening before insisting that he did nothing to warrant the police harassment.
Donatella Versace also took to her Instagram to voice her support for Bembury and slammed the officers for racially profiling him.
"I am appalled this happened to Salehe Bembury today," she wrote, alongside the video footage of the incident.. "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."
Police Release Bodycam Footage
On Friday, the Beverly Hills Police Department issued a statement and released bodycam footage of the officers involved in the incident.
According to police, Bembury was stopped for a jaywalking violation while walking near Camden Drive and Wilshire Boulevard. The body-worn camera footage shows officers approaching Bembury, who can be seen holding a Versace shopping bag, asking him why he jaywalked.
"What did I do? I'm a little startled right now,'' Bembury responds when officers approach him. He soon says, "Oh, I jaywalked, I guess.''
Bembury was detained for a total of three-and-a-half minutes, during which officers searched him with his consent. He was not issued a citation.
"What's unfortunate is I literally designed the shoes that are in this bag, and I'm getting (expletive) searched for it,'' Bembury says in the video as an officers takes look inside his bag. He then asks if he can pick up his phone and record the interaction because he is nervous.