Source: The Root
Another day, another person of color arrested for going about regular-day activities … like banking, because why the hell not?
An Iraqi-American family is outraged after three members were detained by police, all because they were attempting to deposit a large check that was acquired through the sale of their home.
Something that should have been simple as A, B, C turned into two adults and a teenage girl being held at a police station for three hours.
And because of that, Sattar Ali is wondering if he made the right decision to move his family back to Wichita, Kan., claiming that the experience was a result of racial profiling.
According to KAKE, the Ali family had recently sold their home in Dearborn, Mich., so that they could move back to Wichita, where Ali has plans to finish out his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering at Wichita State.
“I went to the bank to deposit the check and I took all of the documents with me to verify,” Ali explained to the news station.
The check totaled just over $151,000, and literally all Ali wanted to do was put it in Emprise Bank for safekeeping until he found a house for his family.
“I told them I don’t need it until I find a house. So keep the check with you, verify, take your time,” he said. “Simply we were just going there to deposit a check. We were not asking for money.”
But even despite his affable approach to the situation, Ali soon found himself in handcuffs. “I was talking to them for less than five minutes and I found the police behind me, handcuffed me, confiscated everything and took me outside,” he explained.
Ali said more than 15 police cars showed up for his arrest.
To make matters worse, two other members of Ali’s family—his wife, Hadil, and their 15-year-old daughter Hawra, who were not even in the bank at the time of the incident, but waiting in the car outside—were also taken into custody for reasons beyond comprehension.
“Let’s assume I made a mistake and gave them a bad check,” Ali suggested, according to the Wichita State Sunflower. “Why would they arrest my wife and daughter?”
The police even took it upon themselves to call the private school that Ali’s 11-year-old son attends and tell the school to hold the child because the family was in police custody.
When all was said and done, the family was in custody for almost three hours, bewildered as to what was going on.
“They didn’t say why or what happened or what did we do. I’m trying to figure out what did we do,” Sattar Ali said.
“No one told me why I was being arrested until we were being released,” he told the Sunflower. “They didn’t read me rights or anything.”
Ali now believes that he was racially profiled and called out Wichita for the actions taken against him and his family.
“They jumped to conclusions,” Ali told the Sunflower, because the check was “presented by someone named Sattar Ali, not James or Robert.”
“Does Wichita not welcome any foreigners? Then tell us. Be up front and forward with people and say, ‘You are not welcome in our city,’” he added, according to KAKE.
He was also confused as to why the bank couldn’t verify the check but police managed to. It was later reported that the bank did not, in fact, call Dearborn to verify the check, but instead for some reason placed a call to Boise, Idaho, KAKE notes.
Emprise, for its part, appears to be unrepentant, issuing a statement claiming, “We are aware of a situation at the 21st and Woodlawn branch yesterday and can confirm that our team acted in accordance with our policies and procedures. If faced with the same circumstances today, we would expect our team to take the same actions.”
Ali, who originally lived in Wichita from 1999 to 2008, told the Sunflower that this was the first time he ever felt unwelcome.
“I would expect this in the 1950s. Not now,” he said
“I don’t want people to feel sad for me. I just want people to be aware that we have an issue,” Ali said. “This shouldn’t be a product of 21st century.”
The outraged father said he plans to take legal action in response to the arrests.