WOL Featured Video
Joe Morrow Banking While Black

Source: KSTP / KSTP

All a Black man wanted to do was cash his check after work at a U.S. Bank branch in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. But, the bank teller and manager thought he was a thief trying to pass off a fake check and the cops thought he was too angry to be innocent—but no worries, certainly the color of his skin had nothing to do with anything, amirite?


According to the Grio, 23-year-old Joe Morrow had just finished a 12-hour shift at a grocery store in October when he went to U.S. Bank to cash his $900 paycheck. The bank teller serving him reportedly called the manager over and the manager reportedly accused him of bank fraud.

“They were all looking at me and just staring at me, and then looking at the check and then staring at me again, and I’m already knowing what they’re thinking—that the check fake,” Morrow told KTSP-TV. “The manager? He came over and said, ‘Joe Morrow? Your check (is) fake.’ And I said, what? He said, ‘You people always coming in here with fake checks.’”

So, police were called to the scene and body camera footage shows Morrow being detained and trying to explain to an officer identified as Sgt. Justin Pletcher, “I work there, bro.” He also told branch manager John Askwith, “I’m going to report you too, bro. This is racial.”

Now, Morrow reportedly never raised his voice and never started cursing people out or threatening anyone with violence, but for Black people, any kind of frustration or perceived aggression at alleven when said frustration is perfectly understandable given the situationreads as angry to white people and, of course, to police, which is likely why the officer can be heard saying to Morrow, “Joe, I need you to calm down, first of all, OK? Don’t say anything stupid because you’re just going to get arrested for it.”

Marrow was immediately handcuffed after he got up from his chair. The Grio reported that Pletcher wrote that Morrow “flexed at John (Askwith) in a threatening manner,” but Marrow denied that he threatened anyone.

“I didn’t threaten him. I got up, like, I’m mad,” Morrow said. “The guy told the officer, ‘Can you get him out of my office? He might take something on my desk’…that’s when I got super mad. I’m going to touch something on your desk?”

At one point during the video, Pletcher can also be heard telling Marrow, “When you start acting like this, it makes you look guilty.”

When he starts acting like what? Like a person who’s upset he can’t even cash his hard-earned paycheck without being treated like a criminal? Like someone being told to calm down when he’s already calmer than he needed to be given what he was being subjected to? Like someone being handcuffed just for being angry at something literally anyone would be angry at?

This really just goes to show that certain people have no idea the rage and resentment that comes from constant racial profiling. Of course, white people tend to think we’re overreacting and acting guiltythey’ve never been through that kind of treatment themselves.

Anyway, eventually, Askwith was able to verify with Morrow’s employer, United Natural Foods, Inc., that his paycheck was indeed real, but he didn’t make that call until after the police came and Marrow was in cuffs. Why not make that call immediately?

Don’t answer that—we already know. 

Banking While Black: Minnesota Police Wrongfully Detain Black Man After Bank Manager Wrongfully Accuses Him Of Fraud  was originally published on cassiuslife.com