A Bank in Arizona Called the Police on a Black Man Who Attempted to Deposit a Check

Image: Screenshot of 12 News video.

The police were called on a Black man who attempted to deposit a $3,200 check at a local bank in Apache Junction, Arizona, 12 News reports.

Almond Brewer said that that bank manager said that his check was fake and called the authorities.

The bank later admitted that the authenticity of the check was “inconclusive” but failed to inform the police when they called 911. 

Brewer said he recently sold a boat to a woman on Facebook Marketplace and she paid with a check. His own bank told him to take the check to the woman’s bank to access the funds faster.

When he gave the information to the teller, he noticed that she “kind of looked surprised.”  

According to the report, the Pinal County Federal Credit Union said that the bank manager called 911 after verifying the check through a 3rd party system. Also, the manager was able to contact the customer who wrote the check and verified it as the officers were on their way to the bank.

Footage from police bodycams shows that the officers weren’t aware that the check had already been verified for at least10 minutes.  

“It was just, ‘oh, you know, Black guy, locks in his hair, tattoos, came on a Harley, you know, let’s assume the worst,’” Brewer said.

“Why embarrass somebody like that? Why, you know, make them feel less than a man,” he asked.

Officials from the bank claimed that the check had “red flags” such as “an old credit union logo along with a routing and account number that didn’t match their member’s information.”

Matthew Whitaker, the owner of Diamond Strategies LLC which trains financial institutions on how to deescalate situations, noted that the bank should have first called their customer before contacting the police. 

“That person could’ve been called immediately before anyone called the police,” Whitaker said. “So why escalate that at that point?” “He [Brewer] was racially profiled.”

Brewer described the incident as “traumatizing.”

“I haven’t been inside a bank since,” Brewer said.

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