Banking while Black: Houston doctor says employees accused her of fraud after trying to deposit paycheck
KTRK-TV

A Houston doctor says she was denied service at a local branch of JPMorgan Chase Bank due to her race.

Dr. Malika Mitchell-Stewart said she went to Chase's First Colony Bank in Sugar Land on Dec. 18, just after finishing her residency, to open an account and deposit a $16,000 check from her new job at Valley Oaks Medical Group -- but she said bank employees accused her of fraud, reported KTRK-TV.

"It was an unfortunate situation," Mitchell-Stewart said. "They took my special moment away. I felt like a criminal. I've never done anything wrong."

"In order to get Texas medical license or a medical license at all, you have to have a clean record," she added. "You have to go to school for so many years, and they just didn't care -- they didn't respect that. They didn't respect my credentials."

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Mitchell-Stewart has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the bank, alleging that employees asked peculiar questions about the validity of the check and her employment as a physician.

"Dr. Mitchell-Stewart showed proof of identification," said her attorney, Justin Moore. "She showed proof that she was a doctor by presenting a business card. She even called employees from her medical group to confirm who she was."

Chase Bank issued a statement saying the matter was under investigation.

"We take this matter very seriously, and are investigating the situation," bank representatives said. "We have reached out to Dr. Mitchell-Stewart to better understand what happened and apologize for her experience."

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