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It Happened Again: Bank Calls Police on Black Man Requesting a Withdrawal from His Own Account: ‘I Was Treated As a Criminal’

A former customer of U.S. Bank, based in Minnesota, has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the bank, according to KSTP-TV. The federal lawsuit claims that the bank is guilty of breach of contract, defamation, violating federal civil rights and emotional distress.

Peter Wogbah used to have a business account at U.S. Bank until the police were called on him when he attempted to get funds in the form of a cashier’s check from his account. Bank employees at a branch in Bloomington, Minnesota, repeatedly turned the customer away in December 2021.

Peter Wogbah US Bank
Peter Wogbah filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against US Bank after the police were called on him when he tried to make a withdrawal from his business account. (Photo: KSTP / YouTube)

Despite Wogbah having all the appropriate identification and sufficient funds in his U.S. Bank business account, tellers not only refused to serve him, but they also called the police on him.

“If this was a white person, that person would have been treated differently than me,” Wogbah said, according to KSTP. “I felt like I was treated as a criminal even though I’m bringing in business. I’m doing business with them. I want them to change the way they treat people and the way they do business with … Black people.”

Bank employees later apologized to Wogbah. However, in court documents, U.S. Bank continues to deny racial discrimination, despite other claims by Black customers of racial discrimination.

One of those customers, Joe Morrow, was arrested at a U.S. Bank in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, in 2020 while trying to cash his $900 paycheck. Morrow said at the time that when the bank staff looked at his check, he knew they thought the valid check was fake. Bodycam footage showed the exchange.

“They were all looking at me and just staring at me and then looking at the check and then staring at me again. And I’m already knowing what they’re thinking — that the check fake.”

Morrow recalled the bank manager accusing him of trying to cash a fake check.

“The manager? He came over and said, ‘Joe Morrow? Your check is fake.’ And I said, ‘what?’ He said, ‘You people always coming in here with fake checks.’ “

After the police arrived, Morrow explained to the bank employee that he worked for the company listed on the check.

“And I’m going to report you too, bro.” Sgt. Justin Pletcher then told a seated Morrow to “calm down” despite him already appearing so. The police officer said, “Don’t say anything stupid ’cause you’re just gonna get arrested for it.’ “

Pletcher claimed in the police report that Morrow flexed at bank manager John Askwith “in a threatening manner.'” Morrow said he was simply standing up after Askwith asked the police to take him to another office.

“I didn’t threaten him. I got up, like, I’m mad,” Morrow said. “The guy told the officer, ‘can you get him out of my office? He might take something on my desk.’ That’s when I got super mad. I’m going to touch something on your desk?”

U.S. Bank provided a statement disputing the facts.

“At U.S. Bank, we’re committed to fairness toward everyone we serve regardless of race,” said U.S. Bank spokesperson Lee Henderson. “We dispute the facts as they’re being portrayed to you. After a thorough internal investigation, there is nothing to indicate that the customer’s race or ethnicity played a factor in the service he received at this branch.”

U.S. Bank settled a lawsuit filed against the bank for racial discrimination by Morrow for an undisclosed amount.

Another financial institution in Arizona called the police on a Black man after he tried to cash his paycheck in October 2021.

Almond Brewer was traumatized when he tried to deposit a check at the Pinal County Federal Credit Union in Apache Junction. The check was payment for a boat that Brewer sold on Facebook.

When the third-party verification system for the credit union came back inconclusive, the company told the credit union it couldn’t tell if the check was authentic. The police were called and incorrectly told the check was fake. Video footage showed him being detained by the police. Brewer said his race factored into the fraud accusation against him at the credit union.

“It was just, ‘Oh, you know, Black guy, locs in his hair, tattoos, came on a Harley; you know, let’s assume the worst,'” he said. “Why embarrass somebody like that? Why, you know, make them feel less than a man.”

As for Wogbah, a court date regarding his lawsuit against U.S. Bank has not been set.

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