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Black Man Tried to Deposit Check, Had Cops Check Him Instead

Black Man Tried to Deposit Check, Had Cops Check Him Instead
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 24 January 2020 10:29 PM

A black Air Force veteran who went to his local bank in Michigan to deposit checks had the police called on him by a branch manager suspecting fraud, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Sauntore Thomas, 44, tried to deposit checks from the settlement of a discrimination lawsuit against a former employer, and said he was humiliated on Tuesday when staff at a TCF Bank in Livonia became suspicious and called cops.

“They did not want to assist me because I was African American,” Thomas told The Associated Press. "They didn’t want to assist me because they assumed that I had a fraudulent check, which was far from the truth.”

“This was no mistake,” Thomas told the AP. "This was not just, ‘Well, we made an error. I’m sorry.’ I didn't get an ‘I’m sorry.’ I didn’t get no cup of coffee, and I didn’t get no doughnuts. The only thing I got from them was a hard time.”

TCF spokesman Tom Wennerberg said the checks didn't appear to be legitimate when bank staff scanned them, and that Thomas' account had only a 52-cent balance and no recent activity, the Free Press reported.

Wennerberg denied racial bias but said the bank should have accepted the checks and told Thomas there might be an “extended hold” until they could be validated.

“We apologize for the experience Mr. Thomas had at our banker center. Local police should not have been involved," TCF said in a written statement Thursday.

“We strongly condemn racism and discrimination of any kind,” the bank said. "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.”

His lawyer, Deborah Gordon,said she filed a lawsuit against TCF, alleging racial discrimination.

“Those checks couldn’t have been more solid,” she said. "I mean, it’s a ridiculous joke that some nationwide company is going to be handing out fraudulent checks to me, that I’m going them pass on to my client. So obviously, they didn’t believe my client. It’s obvious.”

The lawsuit says Thomas was humiliated and suffered mental anguish and emotional distress. He is seeking damages.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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A black Air Force veteran who went to his local bank in Michigan to deposit checks had the police called on him by a branch manager suspecting fraud, the Detroit Free Press reported. Sauntore Thomas, 44, tried to deposit checks from the settlement of a discrimination lawsuit...
racialdisintegrationbankMichigan
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2020-29-24
Friday, 24 January 2020 10:29 PM
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