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Ohio Bank Calls Cops On Black Man Because They Thought His Paycheck Looked ‘Too High’

Cleveland 19 News

The list of things black people can do without having the cops called on them grows ever shorter. After an incident in Brooklyn, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, we can add “cash their paychecks” to the running tally.

On December 1, according to Cleveland 19 News, Paul McCowns visited his local Huntington Bank to cash a paycheck from his first three weeks at a new job with the electric company:

“I had got a new job. I worked there for about three weeks.”

After successfully providing two forms of ID, McCowns gave the bank his fingerprint, which is standard procedure for non-Huntington members who wish to withdraw money at a Huntington bank. According to McCowns, the Huntington employees began gathering around a computer, questioning his check’s validity:

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

The tellers then informed McCowns they couldn’t cash his check (for just over $1,000). He left without making a scene. When he tried to pull out of the parking lot, however, he was stopped by police:

“I get in my truck and the squad car pull in front of me and he says get out the car.”

It turns out that as McCowns was leaving the bank, employees at the Huntington were calling 9-1-1 on him. In a recording of that call, one of the tellers tells the 9-1-1 dispatcher:

“He’s trying to cash a check and the check is fraudulent. It does not match our records.”

After spending several minutes under arrest in the back of a police car, the officers were able to contact McCowns’ employer and confirm the validity of his check.

“My employer said, ‘Yes he works for me. He just started and yes, my payroll company does pay him that much.’”

McCowns believes he was the victim of racial discrimination. In a statement from Huntington, the bank claims its employees were being “hyper-vigilant” of fraud due to the high number of criminal occurrences at that location in the last few months (11).

The internet is furious at Huntington for their actions:


Huntington offered an apology in their official statement:

“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 is looking for an apology from the bank and he would like the tellers involved to be held accountable. Huntington claims they’ve made several attempts to reach McCowns, but that he has not returned their calls.


Written by Collin Gossel

Collin Gossel is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York, but there are nights when he looks up at the stars and wistfully thinks to himself “there’s got to be more out there…” You can catch Collin improvising new musicals every Tuesday night at the Magnet Theater’s Musical Megawatt, or follow his unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram @CollinGossel.--