Add cashing checks another thing that is a problem for Black people to do.
Paul McCowns told the station that he just started a new job at an electric company and had been working there for three weeks when he went to cash his first check. He said that he was asked for two forms of identification, which he provided, and a fingerprint, which is the policy for people who aren’t customers of that particular branch who want to cash checks.
He said his paycheck was for a little more than $1,000 and that the employees questioned the transaction.
“They tried to call my employer numerous times. He never picked up the phone,” he said.
He said he left the bank after he was told that they couldn’t cash the check, but was then pulled over by Brooklyn police.
“I get in my truck and the squad car pull in front of me and he says get out the car,” said McCowns.
Cleveland 19 obtained a copy of the 911 call made by a bank employee, where the person told a dispatcher that the check McCowns tried to cash was fake.
“He’s trying to cash a check and the check is fraudulent. It does not match our records,” the teller to a 911 operator, according to the station.
“Does he know you called 911?” the operator asks. The teller responded with “no.”
McCowns said that he was handcuffed and placed in the back of a cop car before police were able to confirm with his employer that he worked for the company.
“My employer said ‘yes he works for me. He just started and yes, my payroll company does pay him that much,’” McCowns told WOIO.
In a statement to Cleveland 19, Huntington bank said:
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.”
McCowns said he would like an apology from the bank and for the teller who called the cops to be held accountable.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.