With the spate of white people calling police on people of color for doing everyday things like grilling and selling water bottles, an elderly black woman in Florida is suing Wells Fargo after staff at one of its banks called the cops on her when she tried to cash a check.
Barbara Carroll told the Miami New-Times that late last November, she went to a Wells Fargo location in Fort Lauderdale to cash a check for $140. Carroll, who is an assistant manager at another bank, said she was forced to wait two-and-a-half hours and had both her check and her driver’s license taken away because the bank suspected she’d forged the check.
Carroll, a PhD holder, said the tellers questioned her on how she got the money and refused to cash the check even after the person who wrote it for her confirmed that he’d actually done so. Eventually, a white teller told her they’d called the police, and soon after, Carroll called 911 herself after she’d been left waiting for over an hour on her money.
When police arrived, they checked her ID and said it was valid, and she was able to finally leave with her money— but the emotional damage to Carroll had already been done.
“I felt very embarrassed,” she told New Times. “I felt belittled. I can’t tell you the emotions I felt.”
When the alternative weekly newspaper reached Wells Fargo for comment, a spokesperson said they were not able to comment on the matter specifically but that the company does not tolerate discrimination “as evidenced by our own non-discrimination policy, our commitment to diversity and inclusion in our work force, and our long-standing history of support for community organizations that embrace diversity.”
Carroll eventually hired employment and civil liberties lawyer Yechezkel Rodal, who along with his client believes she was targeted for her race.
“We’re hopeful that this isn’t just about Wells Fargo, that other corporations take notice and realize that there has to be some kind of change in our culture — that these things are not OK,” Rodal told the New-Times.