Bank calls police on black man trying to cash check from discrimination lawsuit
A bank called the police on a black man who was trying to cash a check from a discrimination lawsuit.
The incident took place in a Michigan Bank where a Detroit man tried to deposit a cheque for an undisclosed sum that he was awarded after a racial discrimination lawsuit, the New York Post reports.
Sauntore Thomas, 44, said that TCF Bank employees at the Livonia branch refused to cash or deposit the cheque.
Now, Thomas is accusing the bank of racism too. As per the Detroit Free Press, the police were called after staff claimed the cheque was fraudulent and a fraud investigation has been opened.
Thomas recounts the incident in the video below:
"I didn't deserve treatment like that when I knew that the check was not fraudulent," Thomas told the newspaper. "I'm a United States veteran. I have an honorable discharge from the Air Force. They discriminated against me because I'm black. None of this would have happened if I were white."
The 44-year-old said that he has been using TCF Bank for two years, and on Wednesday, he accused the bank of racial discrimination for refusing to cash his cheque and calling the police.
While at the bank, Thomas called his employment law attorney to try and prove that the cheque was real.
"I got on the phone with the bank," attorney Deborah Gordon told the newspaper. "I sent them my federal court complaint, to see that it matched. I did everything."
According to Gordon, Thomas's request was refused because of his race.
"Obviously, assumptions were made the minute he walked in based on his race," the attorney said. "It's unbelievable that this guy got done with a race discrimination case and he's not allowed to deposit the check based on his case? It's absolutely outrageous."
TCF Bank spokesman Tom Wennerberg issued the following statement to the New York Post: "We apologize for the experience Mr. Thomas had at our banking center. Local police should not have been involved.
"We strongly condemn racism and discrimination of any kind. We take extra precautions involving large deposits and requests for cash and in this case, we were unable to validate the checks presented by Mr. Thomas and regret we could not meet his needs."
One Twitter user suggested how TCF Bank could deal with the situation:
According to police, Thomas's cheque was read as fraudulent during his visit to TCF Bank on Tuesday. He is now suing for unspecified damages. He was not arrested at the time.
Twelve hours after opening a new account at a Chase Bank in Detriot, the apparently fraudulent cheque cleared. As per the Free Press, Thomas went on to use the money to purchase a 2004 Dodge Durango.
"I feel very intimidated because I knew that if I would have gotten loud, they would have had me on the ground for disturbance of the peace," Thomas said. "But I didn't get loud… I did nothing."