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Detroit bank calls police on man trying to cash racism settlement cheques


A Detroit man who just settled a racial discrimination lawsuit is heading back to court, after the bank where he tried to cash his settlement cheques called police on suspicion of fraud.

Sauntore Thomas, a Black veteran of the U.S. Air Force, says he was trying to put the first lawsuit behind him on Tuesday when he walked into TCF Bank in Livonia, Mich., to cash three large cheques.

The cheques were worth a total of US$99,000, the bank later told several news outlets.

However, the bank teller refused to cash the cheques and police were ultimately called to question Thomas about potential fraud, he alleges in a new lawsuit filed Thursday.

Thomas is accusing the branch of racial discrimination against him for “banking while black,” according to the lawsuit.

“They did not want to assist me because I was African-American,” Thomas, 44, told AP.

Thomas says he felt humiliated by the whole ordeal, especially after four police officers showed up and questioned him in the lobby of the bank for over an hour.

No arrests were made and no criminal charges were laid as a result of the incident.

However, Thomas says this would not have happened if he were a white person.

“This was no mistake,” he told AP.

“I didn’t get an ‘I’m sorry.’ I didn’t get no cup of coffee, and I didn’t get no doughnuts. The only thing I got from them was a hard time.”

Thomas’ lawyer, Deborah Gordon, told the New York Times that the bank wrongly suspected her client of fraud.


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