Milwaukee man claims he was racially profiled at Delafield Chase bank branch

Posted at 6:55 PM, Sep 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 19:55:21-04

A trip to the bank went viral for a Milwaukee man. Hashim Lawrence said he tried to withdraw money, but ended up surrounded by police.

Lawrence went to a Chase bank in Delafield Tuesday morning to get $5,000 out of his account. He believes he had problems because he's African-American. Lawrence posted cell phone video of the encounter on social media. The video has been viewed 45,000 times.

"She looked at me and looked at my bank statement and was like, this black guy can't have any money," said Lawrence.

Lawrence said he’s still shaken up after a bank withdrawal took an unexpected turn with a Chase employee.

"She just said she had some things to check on her screen, then she asked me what I need the money for."

Lawrence was confused by the question, but even more perplexed when police officers arrived for a disorderly customer. Lawrence grabbed his phone and started recording.

“We just want to make sure there won't be an issue here,” said a Delafield police officer.

"They have me surrounded like something's wrong," Lawrence recalled.

Lawrence said he never raised his voice at the bank and kept his emotions bottled up.

"I was sad, and then sad went to being afraid," said Lawrence.

Meanwhile, the bank employee told Lawrence his account was flagged for fraudulent activity, so he called Chase's corporate number.

"They call me back and say everything is fine on our end, ‘What's going on over there?’ She said 'It's up to my discretion if I want to give you the funds or not,'" Lawrence said.

Lawrence received his money a short time later and was escorted out of this building.

JPMorgan Chase sent TODAY’S TMJ4 this statement about Lawrence's experience:

"We apologized to Mr. Lawrence for this situation. We completed the customer's transaction before he left the branch." – Christine Holevas, Media Relations, JPMorgan Chase

Lawrence said he wants this encounter to be a lesson to the community.

"If I don't speak up about it, this could happen to someone else," he said.