How cashing an ‘expensive’ check almost got a black man arrested in Ohio

Nduta Waweru December 19, 2018
Photo: Screengrab Cleveland 9

Black people have had cops called on them for doing the most basic things, and even though so many of these calls were unnecessary, they haven’t stopped.

Just recently, Huntington Bank branch in Brooklyn, Ohio called the cops on Paul McCowns for trying to conduct a financial transaction.

According to Cleveland 19,  McCowns was trying to cash in a check worth a little over $1000 only for the bank to tell him it was not possible. 

McCowns had just received the first check from his new job with an electric company, where he had worked for just three weeks. He followed the protocol for cashing the check but when the bank seemed hesitant, he left.

As he got into his car, a squad car pulled up.

“I get in my truck and the squad car pull in front of me and he says get out the car,” McCowns said, adding that he was handcuffed and put in the back of a Brooklyn Police cruiser.

Apparently, the bank had called the police on him, claiming that the check was fraudulent and did not match the bank’s records, according to the 911 call report seen by Cleveland 19. 

The police only released him minutes later after getting into contact with McCowns’ employer who confirmed the check was real and that McCowns is an employee.

McCowns, who believed this branch of the bank racially profiled him, stated that he had cashed the check at a different branch without any problems. 

The Huntington Bank has since offered an apology to McCowns, stating that following a series of fraudulent cases in the bank in the past months, the tellers were more vigilant. 

“We sincerely apologize to Mr. McCowns for this extremely unfortunate event. We accept responsibility for contacting the police as well as our own interactions with Mr. McCowns. Anyone who walks into a Huntington branch should feel welcomed. Regrettably, that did not occur in this instance and we are very sorry. We hold ourselves accountable to the highest ethical standards in how we operate, hire and train colleagues, and interact with the communities we have the privilege of serving.”

Last Edited by:Nduta Waweru Updated: December 19, 2018


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