Wells Fargo is once again being accused of discrimination, after a Black woman alleged that a white Florida bank teller accused her of fraud, refused to cash her paycheck, and then had her questioned.
Satara Monroe is now suing the bank, which has faced many scandals surrounding discrimination (or #BankingWhileBlack) in the past, according to the Miami Herald.
What was supposed to be a quick errand to gain access to her money turned into an hour-long interrogation by police, according to the lawsuit filed on Nov. 5.
“I felt targeted,” Monroe told the Herald this week. “There wasn’t anyone else being harassed the way I was harassed.”
“Banking while Black — that was Ms. Monroe’s crime,” Monroe’s attorney, Yechezkel Rodal wrote in the suit. “Ms. Monroe’s story is just another chapter in the tragic tale of the weaponization of 911.”
Monroe had gone to the bank to cash the check and had even presented two forms of ID as she was not a customer. She went as far as to leave her fingerprint on the check, which was drawn on a Wells Fargo account.
The situation quickly unraveled.
“The teller then told Ms. Monroe that she could not cash the check and handed it back to her,” Rodal wrote in the suit. The woman allegedly told Monroe that she called the owner of the firm – who was on the check – to verify and said that the owner claimed the check was fraudulent. When Monroe called her boss, he told her he never got a call from the bank.
Monroe’s boss then spoke to the teller to plead Monroe’s case, but Monroe was still taken to another room where at least four Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies questioned her.
“They asked me who my getaway driver was, who I was working with,” she said. “I just didn’t understand what was going on.”
Monroe’s boss even went to another Wells Fargo close to his office to try and deal with the situation, and then went so far as to go to the branch where Monroe was being illegally The situation was ultimately handled and Monroe got her money, but the dehumanizing discrimination she experienced cannot be erased.
Wells Fargo, for its part claims that it “opposes discrimination of any kind and strongly denies Monroe’s allegations.”
“The complaint is simply not accurate in describing the events, and Wells Fargo looks forward to defending this matter in court,” Michelle Palomino, a spokeswoman for the bank, said.
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