Detroit bank calls police on black man depositing racial discrimination settlement check

Novieku Babatunde Adeola Jan 24, 2020 at 01:00pm

January 24, 2020 at 01:00 pm | Activism & Campaigns, News

Novieku Babatunde Adeola

Novieku Babatunde Adeola | Staff Writer

January 24, 2020 at 01:00 pm | Activism & Campaigns, News

Sauntore Thomas_Photo: Facebook

A Detroit man is suing a bank which refused to cash a settlement check awarded to him in a racial discrimination lawsuit.

The man, identified as Sauntore Thomas, disclosed that employees at TCF bank refused to cash or deposit his settlement check on Tuesday at their branch in Livonia, a suburb of Detroit.

Erika Mack, the assistant manager who called the cops on Thomas, told him the checks needed to be verified by the bank’s computer software and asked: “how did you get this money”.

“I didn’t deserve treatment like that when I knew that the check was not fraudulent,” Thomas told the Detroit press. “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,” Thomas said.

According to the New York Post, the 44-year-old, who had an account with the bank for nearly two years, sued the bank on Wednesday, citing racial discrimination.

According to the police, the bank’s computer system read the checks as fraudulent.

He further stated that he called his law attorney to explain to the bank employees that the check was authentic.

“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.”

Thomas, who is a U.S. veteran, did not indicate the amount on the settlement check, saying, it’s part of a confidential agreement in a federal lawsuit against his former employer, Enterprise Leasing Company of Detroit.

“We apologize for the experience Mr. Thomas had at our banking center,” TCF Bank spokesman Tom Wennerberg told The Post in a statement.

“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.”

According to Detroit Press, Thomas is suing for unspecified damages. He was neither arrested nor charged.

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