Black man handcuffed after trying to cash cheque at Ohio bank

This was his first pay cheque from his new job

Kristin Hugo
New York
Friday 21 December 2018 01:52 GMT
Cleveland bank calls police on black man trying to cash his check

Police stopped and handcuffed a black man after he tried to cash a pay cheque at a bank in Ohio, eliciting outrage online.

Paul McCowns tried to cash the cheque with two forms of ID and his fingerprints - as is standard procedure - at a Huntington Bank, NBC News reported.

However, the bank could not contact his employer to confirm that the cheque was legitimate so they did not cash it. As Mr McCowns was walking to his car, a bank teller called 911 and claimed he was trying to cash a fraudulent cheque.

When the police got there, they asked Mr McCowns to come out of his car, handcuffed him, and put him in the back of the police cruiser. Officers got in touch with Mr McCowns’ employer, confirmed that the cheque was real and released him.

Twitter is responding to how Huntington Bank responded to Mr McCowns with the hashtag #BankingWhileBlack.

After the handcuffing incident and ensuing criticism, the bank tried to contact Mr McCowns to apologise, but has not yet successfully reached him. They also stated that their tellers were being extra careful after a spate of fraudulent cheques, NBC News reported.

Huntington Bank issued the following statement, according to The Washington Post: “We sincerely apologise 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.”

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