Another case of being black in America. Paul McCowns went into a Huntington Bank in Brooklyn, Ohio to cash his first paycheck from his new employer. However, the teller at the branch felt compelled to call the police and accuse McCowns of attempting to cash a fraudulent check.
The interaction began as normal. The bank asked for two forms of ID, which McCowns provided and then asked for a fingerprint, which is standard procedure for non-Huntington customers attempting to cash checks, according to the bank.
For an “unknown” reason, the bank began to question the legitimacy of McCowns’ check, which was worth a little over $1,000. They called his employer, an electric company, numerous times to verify his employment and how much his check was for, but his employer did not answer. They then turned him away.
McCowns said after he left building and got in his car to leave the area, police pulled in front of him and told him to get out of his car. The police detained him until they were able to verify with his employer that the check was real. His employer eventually responded telling police, “Yes, he works for me, he just started, and yes, my payroll company does pay him that much.”
Local Police Chief Scott Mielke explained that since July, at least ten calls have been made out to the Huntington Bank branch, where McCowns was detained and all of them resulted in arrests for fraudulent checks. A spokesman from Huntington Bank stated that recent incidents have put employees and tellers at the branch on high alert.
The bank claims they attempted to contact McCowns numerous times to apologize but he hasn’t returned their calls. They issued a statement regarding the incident that states: “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 was able to cash the same check the next day at another Huntington Bank location.
What would you have done in this situation? Would you have gone to a different branch or another bank altogether?