Bank calls cops on Black man for cashing his paycheck

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Paul McCowns (Photo Credit: Screenshot via WOIO)

A bank in Ohio called cops on a Black man and had him arrested — because he was trying to cash his paycheck.

Paul McCowns stopped by the Huntington bank in Brooklyn on Dec. 1 to cash his very first paycheck for $1,082.24, Cleveland 19 reported.

He said he had just landed a job as at an electric company.

Because he didn’t have an account with Huntington, the bank teller asked McCowns for two forms of ID and his fingerprints.

But instead of finalizing the routine transaction, the teller tried calling McCowns’ new employer — to confirm he actually worked there, thinking the check was bogus.

“They tried to call my employer numerous times. He never picked up the phone,” McCowns recalled.

The tellers told him the check couldn’t be cashed — so he left. That’s when a squad car pulled up in front of him in the parking lot. Unbeknownst to McCowns, the bank had called 911 on him.

“I get in my truck and the squad car pull in front of me and he says get out the car,” he said. “It was highly embarrassing, highly embarrassing.”

The 911 call and police report obtained by the local TV network revealed that bank employees thought McCowns’ check was a fake.

“He’s trying to cash a check and the check is fraudulent. It does not match our records,” one of the tellers says on the call.

“Does he know you called 911?” the dispatcher asks.

McCowns was handcuffed and placed in the back of the cop car before police confirmed the check was real and that he was, in fact, an employee at the electric company.

“My employer said, ‘Yes he works for me. He just started and yes, my payroll company does pay him that much,’” said McCowns, who wound up cashing his check the next day at another Huntington branch.

Now, he’s demanding an apology from the bank for racially profiling him.

A Huntington rep told Cleveland 19 that there had been nearly a dozen cases of fraud in the last few months and that tellers were just being vigilant.

“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,” a statement from the bank said.

“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.”

The bank rep said they reached out to McCowns to apologize several times but he hasn’t returned their calls.

This story originally appeared in the New York Post.

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