“You people always coming in here with fake checks,” Bank employee racially profiled and falsely accused Black man of fraud, settlement reached
Major United States bank decided to improve and rework their training programs for their employees after a serious incident was publicly revealed earlier this month, when one of the bank employees racially profiled and falsely accused one of the bank’s customers, a Black man, over a check fraud. Later, a video of the incident appeared online.
More than a year after the incident, the bank reached a settlement with the victim, who was identified as the 23-year-old J. Morrow.
According to an investigation by KSTP-TV, Morrow went to a local US Bank branch after he worked a 12-hour shift at his job at a grocery distributor. Just like any other ordinary visit to the bank, Morrow wanted to cash his $900 check, but a problem occurred when the bank manger called the police after he suspected that Morrow’s check was fraudulent.
Just like any other bank customer, the victim in the case had an account with the bank and showed proper identification to the teller. Morrow did nothing indicating that his check was fraudulent, but the teller decided to call the bank manager anyway. As soon as the bank manager arrived at the counter, he asked Morrow to go in his office for no particular reason.
This was not the first time for Morrow to cash checks and he knew that taking him to the bank manager’s office was not part of the regular procedure. According to Morrow, the bank manager told him “You people always coming in here with fake checks,” something that was not the case with Morrow at all.
Morrow was seated inside of bank manager’s office where he told him that he worked for his employer and that he believed this was a “racial” situation. An officer who responded to the scene was inside the room during this exchange.
“Joe, I need you to calm down, first of all, OK?” the officer who responded at the scene was heard saying in the bodycam footage released by the police, according to the outlet. “Don’t say anything stupid because you’re just going to get arrested for it.” Shortly after, another officer responded at the scene, Morrow was handcuffed and moved to another office.
“When I’m coming out of [the manager’s] office I was handcuffed… people were looking… like I’m a criminal or something,” Morrow told KSTP-TV.
The bank manager decided to call Morrow’s employer to confirm that the check was genuine. Right after they got the confirmation, Morrow was released. It remains unknown why the bank officials didn’t call the employer to make the check verification before they called the police, but they did it after Morrow was handcuffed and held in the bank offices. The bank manager told police that he had received “a lot of fraudulent checks” with the employer’s logo on them, the report said.
Andy C., the president and chief executive officer of US Bancorp, issued an apology to the community in a letter earlier this month, stating that “I am deeply sorry for where we failed and accept full responsibility.”
The letter continued: “What Mr. Morrow experienced is not the experience any customer should have. All of our employees, including executive management, are required to complete two levels of unconscious bias training, in addition to other training to prevent bias and negative customer experiences. Sometimes, unfortunately, we don’t live up to our goals.”
The bank realized they mistake and agreed to a confidential settlement with Morrow, more than a year after the incident.