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Utopia Talk / Politics / #BankingWhileBlack
murder
Member
Thu Dec 20 17:40:09
Bank apologizes for calling police on black man who was trying to cash his paycheck

Published 9:03 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2018

A bank has apologized for contacting police in an alleged racial profiling incident near Cleveland.

The statement comes after local media reported that a Huntington Bank employee called police on a black man who tried to cash his paycheck, resulting in the man being briefly detained by police.

Cleveland 19 News reported Monday that Paul McCowns attempted to cash a paycheck from a new employer on Dec. 1 at a Huntington Bank branch in the Cleveland suburb of Brooklyn, Ohio.

Bank employees called police on McCowns, who is not a customer of the bank, after the bank was unable to reach his employer to verify the check, the station reports. McCowns had provided two forms of identification and his fingerprint, in accordance with bank policy, the station says.

A Huntington Bank representative issued an emailed statement to USA TODAY on Wednesday apologizing to McCowns for "this extremely unfortunate event."

NBC reports that McCowns was in his car and in the process of leaving the bank when he was approached by police. He was briefly handcuffed and detained in a police car until police were able to verify the authenticity of the check with McCowns' employer, NBC says.

A 911 call cited by the network says that bank employees called authorities without McCowns' knowledge.

The branch has recently had seen a rash of fraud incidents, The Washington Post reports.

Brooklyn Police Chief Scott Mielke told the paper that police have made at least 10 fraud arrests in connection with the branch since July. And a Huntington Bank spokesman told the paper that employees at the branch were on high alert for fraud.

McCowns told Cleveland 19 News the incident was "highly embarrassing."

The station says McCowns believes there was profiling involved in the bank's treatment of the incident: "The person who made that phone call ... I feel as though that they were judging."

Huntington Bank's full apology and statement about the incident reads:

“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.”

Throughout 2018, numerous alleged racial profiling events have made national headlines.

The stories chronicle police being called to investigate as a black person is doing everyday activities, such as sitting in Starbucks, babysitting children, playing golf, staying at an Airbnb or napping on a couch in a college dorm.

http://www...e-called-black-man/2370582002/

Cherub Cow
Member
Thu Dec 20 18:10:08
"The branch has recently had seen a rash of fraud incidents, The Washington Post reports."

It must have been difficult for the article to include that piece of information. Almost like it's not just harmless, "everyday activities" but some kind of pattern that directed the bank's decision here... but yeah, it must be because of racism :|
jergul
large member
Thu Dec 20 18:18:09
"but some kind of pattern that directed the bank's decision" aka racial profiling aka "banking while black".
jergul
large member
Thu Dec 20 18:18:21
aka racism.
Pillz
Member
Thu Dec 20 18:19:23
10 fraud arrests in 5 months. Guess the race?
murder
Member
Thu Dec 20 18:48:11

"It must have been difficult ..."

It's completely irrelevant. The check was legitimate. There was ZERO grounds for calling the cops ... except that he's black.

Turtle Crawler
Admin
Thu Dec 20 20:19:24
As long as being black is highly inductive of passing bad checks...
Cherub Cow
Member
Thu Dec 20 20:23:45
"There was ZERO grounds for calling the cops"

Except that he was "not a customer of the bank" and "the bank was unable to reach his employer to verify the check". At that point the bank can either let him leave to keep trying other banks, or they can get the police involved — the police who conceivably would be better at confirming the man's identity. And, as it happens, the police did have better luck contacting the employer to verify authenticity.

Of course the missing details were social cues, which may have added to the banker's discretion in calling the police. We don't know, for instance, if the customer (McCowns) simply walked out after saying something courteous like, "Oh, no worries. It makes sense that you couldn't get a hold of my employer since it is a Saturday. I'll try again on Monday. Maybe I'll open an account here as well." versus "Fuck you! Give me my check back!". We do not know if the teller made that discretionary decision to call the police because of something that was said, because of the high fraud alert that the bank was experiencing coupled with the fact that McCowns checked the boxes for a fraudulent claim, or because — as race-baiters think — because McCowns happens to be black. In short, we have evidence that McCowns was detained due to fraud alerts being set off, but we do not have evidence that the banker systematically hates black people.
obaminated
Member
Thu Dec 20 20:48:24
"It's completely irrelevant."

No you dunce, it is not irrelevant. Bank had gotten a lot of frauds. This customer isn't a customer of the bank. The bank could not confirm the check's authenticity. Next step is to get authorities involved or to deny customer entirely and hope someone else can resolve the issue.
Hot Rod
Revved Up
Thu Dec 20 20:59:40

"McCowns told Cleveland 19 News the incident was "highly embarrassing.""


How the fuck do they think the Black guy felt?

I sure hope he got something more than, excuse the error, so sorry.




"At that point the bank can either let him leave to keep trying other banks, or they can get the police involved — the police who conceivably would be better at confirming the man's identity. And, as it happens, the police did have better luck contacting the employer to verify authenticity."


All the while they had him handcuffed and on display. I bet they all got a good laugh out of that one.

Isn't there a law against holding someone against their will and without cause?

If not, there should be.

Hot Rod
Revved Up
Thu Dec 20 21:03:43

Why didn't they call the other branches instead of the cops?

obaminated
Member
Thu Dec 20 21:07:13
good question HR, why don't you go down to this branch and investigate. And when you come back with no other evidence that this bank branch, in fucking cleveland, is deeply racist, please let us know.
hood
Member
Thu Dec 20 21:30:55
"How the fuck do they think the Black guy felt?"

McCowns was the black guy, illiterate fuckstick.
Cherub Cow
Member
Thu Dec 20 22:22:30
[Hot Rod]: "All the while they had him handcuffed and on display ... Isn't there a law against holding someone against their will and without cause?"

Yeah, *did* you read the article? Of course there's a law against holding someone without cause, and in this case the police *did* have cause: bank fraud. The police detained him for bank fraud, they found that his story checked out, and they released him.

Certainly some discretion was used by the police; did they have to handcuff him at all? To determine this, all the police have to decide is if the suspect is a flight risk. This can be as simple as deciding if this person is a fast runner, but it also includes factors like the severity of the crime. Bank fraud is a significant crime, so handcuffing a suspect is not absurd. Race-baiters might call the police racist here also, but racist officers could easily have brought McCowns from the scene to jail and leave him there to be processed two days later, on that Monday. These officers handled it at the scene in what was described as "briefly" — 10 minutes? 15 minutes?

So I'm not really seeing much blame for the police here.
obaminated
Member
Thu Dec 20 22:57:05
on the plus side, it is nice to live in a country where people desperately looking for racism are having trouble finding legitimate stories about malicious racism.
jergul
large member
Fri Dec 21 03:12:48
What do you reckon? Nazi Germany levels of jew harrassment anno 1935?. Something like that.

Asgard
Member
Fri Dec 21 06:19:02
Umm, no. Not quite. I don't see a black CEO of a bank being booted along with all the rest of the bank black officials so that the Aryan race would dissolve all black influence from the financial industry.
jergul
large member
Fri Dec 21 06:30:24
Asgard
I was unaware that there were black bank CEOs. Though I have no doubt you can find at least one in some bank we have never heard of.

So perhaps the comparison would be fairer to Gipsies (they were steamrolled as bad as Jews, but from without the initial social, cultural, and economic empowerment).

I was thinking pre-Nurenburg laws. So think of my comment as the best part of 1935, not the worst.
patom
Member
Fri Dec 21 07:55:32
Been a long time since I was in a situation where a bank wouldn't cash my check. But I recall that some banks would cash a payroll check unless you had an account with them.
At the time I was driving truck over the road and had a limited time frame to get to my bank. The company I drove for mailed their check to me and I tried to cash it a a bank that the check was drawn from. They wouldn't cash it because I didn't have an account with them.

This all was before ATM's were all over the place. What few they had a limit on how much you could withdraw from your own account.
Cherub Cow
Member
Fri Dec 21 08:26:43
I’ve had to start an account with a bank just so that they’d let me get quarters in exchange for bills. They and another bank wouldn’t help me otherwise (not even once), and I needed to get quarters regularly for laundry :p
Paramount
Member
Fri Dec 21 10:06:58
I think it is pretty sick that I have to go to a bank and ask them if I can have my moneys. And I have to pay them a yearly fee so that I can get MY moneys! That is extortion! I mean, the moneys are mine. Just give me my moneys.
murder
Member
Fri Dec 21 21:12:10

"Except that he was "not a customer of the bank" and "the bank was unable to reach his employer to verify the check". At that point the bank can either let him leave to keep trying other banks, or they can get the police involved"

Neither of those things is ground for calling the cops on someone.


"— the police who conceivably would be better at confirming the man's identity. And, as it happens, the police did have better luck contacting the employer to verify authenticity."

And all it took was the poor guy being arrested and humiliated and having the power of the state unleashed on him.

I hope he sues that bank into bankruptcy.

obaminated
Member
Fri Dec 21 21:14:39
"I hope he sues that bank into bankruptcy."

lol, you dumb.
murder
Member
Fri Dec 21 21:17:02

"No you dunce, it is not irrelevant. Bank had gotten a lot of frauds. This customer isn't a customer of the bank. The bank could not confirm the check's authenticity. Next step is to get authorities involved or to deny customer entirely and hope someone else can resolve the issue."

No, that is not the next step. If the bank didn't feel comfortable cashing the check, the next step is to tell him "I'm sorry but you're not a customer of this bank and we haven't been able to verify the validity of this check, so we can't cash it."

The guy did NOTHING wrong. He provided two forms of ID and his fucking finger print.

This guy isn't responsible for incidents of fraud committed at that bank.

murder
Member
Fri Dec 21 21:20:16

"I’ve had to start an account with a bank just so that they’d let me get quarters in exchange for bills. They and another bank wouldn’t help me otherwise (not even once), and I needed to get quarters regularly for laundry :p"

They should have called the cops on you. Surely they've had issues with counterfeit notes.

Cherub Cow
Member
Sat Dec 22 00:10:10
[murder]: "Neither of those things is ground for calling the cops on someone."

Actually, those things combined *are* grounds for involving the police because the bigger picture they paint is suspected bank fraud. Banks do in fact have to apply some measure of control over who cashes checks or withdraws funds.

..
[murder]: "And all it took was the poor guy being arrested and humiliated and having the power of the state unleashed on him."

Only teenagers, halfwits, and the religious can be humiliated, but, that aside, if "the power of the state" is being lawfully detained "briefly" (per the article), then the "poor guy" was not exactly subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.

..
[murder]: "The guy did NOTHING wrong. He provided two forms of ID and his fucking finger print."

Just because a person ends up being innocent does not mean that there was never a cause for that person's trial, arrest, or in this case brief detainment. He was suspected of bank fraud, and the banker applied discretion in going to the next step, which can in fact be more than a mere denial of service — i.e., the banker's next step when faced with potential bank fraud can in fact be to contact the authorities... that's kind of how people can be charged with the crime of bank fraud: getting reported.

And I was wondering if anyone would think that the finger print and two forms of ID were somehow proof that there could be no suspicion of fraud: FYI, it's not proof. The fingerprint? Surely a person would not volunteer a fingerprint if they intended to be criminal! Actually, many criminals *do* volunteer that kind of information. This could be because they have never been fingerprinted by the authorities, because they want to fabricate good faith, because they expect to be in the wind before the fingerprint is given to the authorities, etc... And the two IDs not enough? No, not enough. Banks have to verify both ends of the transaction, which means the customer's identity and the identity of the check's intended recipient (i.e., "is the check made out to this exact person?"). Matching names often is not enough, otherwise a person named "John Smith" could cash quite a few checks. This is why the bank still needed to contact the employer. If the bank had McCowns as a prior customer then they can establish a good faith relationship and not bother with the employer — taking the chance with any potential fraud — but even if McCowns gives DNA samples, fingerprints, birth certificates, etc., it still needs to be matched to the McCowns on the check via employment verification.

..
[murder]: "They should have called the cops on you. Surely they've had issues with counterfeit notes."

A flawed analogy; banks can easily check for counterfeit notes on the spot. If a customer tries to exchange confirmed counterfeit notes in exchange for quarters, then yes, the customer should not be surprised if the police arrive.
jergul
large member
Sat Dec 22 04:53:52
CC is arguing the bank needs robust procedures. Mkay, lets have those procedures examined in a court of law and see if the procedures are A legal, and B followed in the case in question.

After that, the court can award the fellow his million dollar settlement.
jergul
large member
Sat Dec 22 04:55:32
If the bank has not written such a procedure, then it simply is an arbitrary "black guy tries to cash check, quick call the cops".
Cherub Cow
Member
Sat Dec 22 06:22:34
It must suck to be stuck in a loop of race-baiting with zero evidence :( ... it’s almost like religious people trying to prove that a god exists simply by affirming “She does! She does!”
murder
Member
Sat Dec 22 07:00:10

"Actually, those things combined *are* grounds for involving the police because the bigger picture they paint is suspected bank fraud. Banks do in fact have to apply some measure of control over who cashes checks or withdraws funds."

Yes ... and that control is not cashing the fucking check.

The police are for when someone is doing something illegal ... or at least has done SOMETHING to that appears to be illegal.

You being suspicious of a perfectly legitimate check is NOT grounds for calling the cops on someone.

You being suspicious because you were unable to contact the person who issued the check is NOT grounds for calling the cops on someone.

You being a racist prick who defaults to suspecting that a black man must be up to no good is NOT grounds for calling the cops on someone.


murder
Member
Sat Dec 22 07:05:33

"Only teenagers, halfwits, and the religious can be humiliated, but, that aside, if "the power of the state" is being lawfully detained "briefly" (per the article), then the "poor guy" was not exactly subjected to cruel and unusual punishment."

He wasn't lawfully detained, he was UNLAWFULLY detained. Not only had he not done anything wrong, but nobody had. This wasn't even one of those lame ass situations where someone broke the law and the guy fit the general description of the suspect.

There was no crime.

There was no suspect.

There was no reason to detain ANYONE.

And he shouldn't have been subject to ANY punishment for doing nothing wrong.

murder
Member
Sat Dec 22 07:09:08

"Just because a person ends up being innocent does not mean that there was never a cause for that person's trial, arrest, or in this case brief detainment."

Are you fucking dense? There was no fucking crime!

This is the equivalent of your neighbor calling the cops on you for abusing your kids ... and after a brief detention by the police, it turning out that you have no kids.

Calling the cops on someone is no joke. People get shot to death by nervous cops every damn day. You call the cops on someone, and you are putting their lives in danger.

Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Sat Dec 22 08:44:50
>>or at least has done SOMETHING to that appears to be illegal<<

Providing false identity in a bank trying to withdraw money is illegal even if you never get any money, it is called attempted fraud. Why are you making this so difficult for yourself?
Rugian
Member
Sat Dec 22 09:08:36
murder has an obsession with proving that blacks are second-class citizens who suffer from major systemic discrimination in the United States. It's ridiculous and a little bit pathetic.

And the weirdest part is, he isn't even black. He's just another guilty white liberal (Hispanics are white now, right? At least since George Zimmerman anyway) who can't deal with the fact that blacks have enjoyed equal rights for sixty goddamn years now. Some people need a cause to get behind, I guess.
Seb
Member
Sat Dec 22 10:19:33
Nim:

Was the identity false? The story doesn't suggest the bank had any reason to doubt his ID. What they couldn't get was confirmation the cheque was genuine. Again, they had no reason to think the cheque was a forgery, just an inability to reach the employer to confirm it.

So what grounds do they have for thinking a crime had been committed rather than "oh, his employer isn't answering the phone right now", which is the more obvious explanation.

What is it, exactly, the thing that made them think with sufficient probability to involve the police that a crime was in progress?

Or do you think it is the standard policy to can the police on every customer without an account seeking to cash a cheque when they cannot immediately reach the employer?
Seb
Member
Sat Dec 22 10:23:29
I love how CC rails against the panopticon state, but thinks it's reasonable to call the cops the moment your employer cannot be reached to vouch for you.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Sat Dec 22 11:20:01
seb
The employees at the bank suspected this. CC makes a fair points about the different cues present and how things actually occured. You are reducing this to ”employer couldn’t be reached, call the cops”. People don’t usually behave like algorithms, even though SOPs are present.
jergul
large member
Sat Dec 22 11:27:23
Nimi
The point she is missing is that the cues cannot legally be race based.

I am fine with the bank doing what it did if it can show the police were contacted with white customers under similar circumstances.

Colourblind procedures to limit fraud is fine. Otherwise, be prepared for million dollar settlements.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Sat Dec 22 11:37:17
Where does she miss this?
TJ
Member
Sat Dec 22 12:08:43
$$$$$$$$$

They should have either cashed the check or refused him service without calling the police. I imagine there was video surveillance in the bank. Everything could have been done discreetly without detaining and embarrassing the man.
jergul
large member
Sat Dec 22 14:04:28
Nimi
She missed it with every letter she typed. Its a pretty fair assumption to think the main criteria the bank used to suspect fraud was skin pigmentation.

The bank better have its procedures in order.
Seb
Member
Sat Dec 22 16:10:30
Nimatzo:

Which social cues would reasonably lead you to believe a man you have positively ID'd with two forms of ID, who has provided a prima facie valid cheque, but whom you simply cannot contact their employer, is in fact committing fraud?
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Sun Dec 23 04:06:30
Jergul
We disagree nothing CC has said indicates being unaware it ”illegal”. I think it is quite obvious what CC is saying, there is too little information. The only reason you or anyone thinks the bank needs to show some statistical history about this is because the guy cried racism and he is black. So if the bank shows those stats, they should be viewed together with the race of all the attempted frauds they have had and are commited nationally. It sucks that black people are overrepresented in bank related crimes (as well).

Seb
You want me to speculate for the sake of it, or do you genuinely have a hard time imagining it? Has no one ever entered a bank, given 2 IDs, a fingerprint and what looks like a valid check to commit fraud you mean? Seriously you are not this thick (are you?), this topic is not worth this time and attention to convince racist people that my speculative scenarios are more realistic than their’s just to have them show me embarassing unconscious bias ”studies” to abrakadabra racism on everything. Black people commit a disproportionate percentage of crimes in the USA. That is knowledge.

So facts (about crimes locally and nationally) + social cues = perfectly valid to call the cops.
jergul
large member
Sun Dec 23 04:52:41
Nimi
The only reason is because the US has a long and deep history of systemic racism.

Stats do not make racial profiling legal. So if that is the defence, then the fellow is about to become a millionaire.

What the bank needs to show is colour blind procedures that were employed and dictated that the police be called in that and all other identical cases regardless of skin colour.

IF employer cannot be reached, then police shall be called when a check is attempted to be cashed.

No worries though, I am sure that is the specific procedure the bank has.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Sun Dec 23 05:42:15
Jergul
Provided the fact that innocent people will regularly be suspected for crimes they are either found to be innocent of or not guilty and given the disparity in crime between white and black. If say (example) 50% (and they are 6-7% of the population) of all of frauds are commited by black men you would expect roughly 50% of all innocent people suspected of fraud to be black men as well.

So given that black men are over represented in crimes you will also naturally and reasonably find that they are also overrepresented in being suspected of crimes and found innocent or not guilty. This isn’t racism.
jergul
large member
Sun Dec 23 07:51:28
Nimi
You could just google you know. The bank could imaginably have colourblind procedures in order, but in all likelihood, it will be found guilty of civil rights violation and have the usual damages awarded the fellow it got arrested.

If the bank then wishes to continue with the practice according to the logic your described, then it will suffer punitive damages again in the future.

Everyone has the inherent right not to be judged by the pigmentation of their skin.
American Democrat
Member
Sun Dec 23 08:12:21
"Except that he was "not a customer of the bank" and "the bank was unable to reach his employer to verify the check". At that point the bank can either let him leave to keep trying other banks, or they can get the police involved — the police who conceivably would be better at confirming the man's identity. And, as it happens, the police did have better luck contacting the employer to verify authenticity."

ARTICLE:"McCowns had provided two forms of identification and his fingerprint, in accordance with bank policy, the station says."

What more do you need to assist in verifying someone's identity? More probable than not this person was not trying to defraud the banking going through the bank's policy driven process.

Secondly, even if attempts to contact his employer went unsuccessful, it would have been no different if the police were involved in contacting. As you've mentioned "better luck" who is to say the bank could have requested the potential customer wait a few moments more to make another attempt? There are other plausible steps that could have been taken. I would find it difficult to believe giving two forms of ID plus a fingerprint would be a person attempting to defraud. And there are stupid criminals in the world, but this person seemed not to project that characteristics.

Sure, find to have the police involved, but it begs the question, how many times have they does this particular action before. Despite it previously being a target of fraud.

This incident was off-setting and did not require to have police involved. The bank acknowledged it and apologized. And if that isn't enough for you to understand the bank knew they made a mistaken. It is reasonable to believe that possibly race did have a degree in the call.

I would ask during the previous attempts of fraud what have the others gone through to accomplish that. There you would have a better indication of the bank's reactions.

American Democrat
Member
Sun Dec 23 08:25:17
Also according to the 911 call. The teller explicitly said the person was attempting to cash a fraudulent check. Curious to know the exact basis they had for that, despite previous incidents. Were those incidents the same as McCowns?
American Democrat
Member
Sun Dec 23 08:30:18
Wow, reviewing my post, I am clearly not awake and apologize for the horrible grammar and misspellings.
Seb
Member
Sun Dec 23 10:40:08
Nim:

I'm saying for the police to put someone in cuffs they ought to have probable cause.

And as we now know it's a valid cheque it seems safe to assume there was nothing weird about the cheque. And he's provided two valid IDs, and it's fairly normal not to be able to reach an employer on the first call.

So if we are speculating on social cues, I'm interested to see what you think these might have been that would lead a cashier and police to think this perfectly normal and innocent set of facts be most probably explained by criminal intent, so as to give police probable cause.

American Democrat
Member
Sun Dec 23 15:07:47
Seb, the probable cause was that it was reported that the check was fraudulent and it was attempted to being cashed.
jergul
large member
Sun Dec 23 15:19:18
Yah, the issue is not with the police.

I rather suspect a whisper game explanation. "unable to verify authenticity" became fraud to the person actually making the 911 call.

Several employees were involved. At least 3 and probably more.
Seb
Member
Sun Dec 23 17:26:09
American Democrat:

In which case that's a rather serious error made by the bank and staff.

So in mitigation, what social cues would reasonably lead a staff member to believe that a man who has provided two forms of valid ID and an ostensibly valid cheque, but whose employer couldn't immediately be contacted, was likely to be committing fraud and this justify reporting it as such?

jergul
large member
Mon Dec 24 04:53:15
Seb
That is not likely how it played out.

Teller 1 asks for both IDs, confers and tacks on a figerprint check.

Supervisor monitors the situation and decides placing a phone call to the employer is relevant for verification. Underling does that.

Underling states that he/she was unable to verify, that is translated somehow to employer denying writing check.

So phone call to 911 claiming fraud.

Or something like that.

Hashtag banking while black.
jergul
large member
Mon Dec 24 04:55:05
As American Democrat pointed out, there is absolutely no doubt the bank is at fault. The bank accepts that by issuing an apology.

The only thing remaining to determine is the size of damages to be awarded.
Seb
Member
Mon Dec 24 08:49:15
Jergul:

Baby steps.
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