THE BRONX - The City Council's Committee on Civil Rights is probing claims of racial profiling at two major department stores.

Last month, several African-Americans came forward and claimed that they were stopped by NYPD officers after leaving Barneys and Macy's in Manhattan.

Representatives from both stores and the NYPD were invited to appear at today's hearing.

Arthur Palmer, of Crown Heights, says that four plainclothes NYPD officers stopped and questioned him in April three blocks away from Macy's Herald Square after he bought designer shirts and ties from the store.

Councilman Jumaane Williams, who co-chaired today's hearing, called it "shop-and-frisk."

Letters from Barneys and Macy's were read during the hearing in reaction to the claims against them.

The Commission on Human Rights has requested information on loss prevention policies at more than a dozen retail stores, including Macy's and Barneys, to further investigate any racial profiling. They have until this Friday to respond or the commission will subpoena them.