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Archived: Bank Calls Police on Black Man for Cashing His Own Check

A Huntington Bank teller called the police on a Black man trying to cash his first paycheck.

He had just started a new job at an electric company. He received his first check and went to Huntington Bank to cash it. The check was for $1,082.84. Yes, that was all.

One would think the check was for $20,000 but no it was a normal working man’s pay. Apparently, Paul McCowns didn’t have an account with the bank. For people without an existing account, the financial institution requires two forms of ID and fingerprints. McCowns obliged.

The teller went outside of normal protocol and decided to call McCowns’ employer to verify the check. He confirmed that the teller was unable to contact the employer and then he was told that his check wasn’t able to be cashed.

The teller returned the check to McCowns and he left the premises.

Unbeknownst to McCowns, the bank had called the police on him. It’s no surprise that the police were called. Huntington Bank’s 13 member, all white executive leadership team speaks to the lack of diversity of its employees.

“I get in my truck and the squad car pull in front of me and he says get out the car,” he said. “It was highly embarrassing, highly embarrassing.”

To make matters worse, he was handcuffed and placed in the back of police cruiser while officers verified his employment.

“My employer said, ‘Yes he works for me. He just started and yes, my payroll company does pay him that much,'” said McCowns.

Being a glutton for punishment, he went to another Huntington Bank location to finally cash his paycheck.

There’s no information on why he had to cash his check at that specific bank but there is no way he should have wanted to continue to do business with that institution.

According to the 911 call recording, the tellers thought the check was fake.

“He’s trying to cash a check and the check is fraudulent. It does not match our records,” one of the tellers says on the call.

“Does he know you called 911” the dispatcher asked.

“No,” the teller responded.

Now, he wants an apology from the bank for racially profiling him.

Of course, Huntington Bank issued the obvious obligatory apology statement.

“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,” a statement from the bank said.

“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.”

The bank spokesperson also stated that the bank had high amounts of fraudulent activity lately and they were simply being cautious.

That’s doubtful because as it stands no white customers have come forward to say they’ve had the same experience. And with the level of vigilance and diligence the racist tellers had regarding McCowns’ $1,000 paycheck, it’s highly unlikely that the culprits are Black. It’s just a theory, though.

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