Milwaukee Bucks Center John Henson Accuses Jewelry Store of Racial Profiling
Milwaukee Bucks center John Henson says he was the victim of racial profiling at a suburban Milwaukee jewelry store on Monday.
In an Instagram post on Monday afternoon, Henson said he wanted to look at a watch at Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, but the store employees locked the door on him and called the police.
Went to @schwankekasten jewelry today in White-Fish Bay during regular business hours . They locked the door and told me to go away . After I rang the doorbell twice everyone went to the back. No answered the door or told me what was going on. This was followed by two police cars pulling up and parking across the street and watching me for 5 minutes ( I assumed they were called by the store ) . I was then approached by 2 officers and questioned about the dealer vehicle I was in which is apart of my endorsement deal with Kunes country Chevrolet and asked me what I wanted amongst other things that were just irrelevant to me being there just trying to shop at the store like a normal paying customer would do . I told them I was just trying to look at a watch. He then had to go in the back and tell them to come out it was safe but this is after they ran my plates and I overheard them talking about doing more of a background check on the car. The employees finally came out of the back and proceeded to conduct business like they previously were as we walked up . This was one of the the most degrading and racially prejudice things I’ve ever experienced in life and wouldn’t wish this on anyone . This store needs to be called out and that’s what I’m doing . You have no right to profile someone because of their race and nationality and this incident needs to be brought to light and I urge anyone who ever is thinking of shopping here reads this and doesn’t bring any business to this discriminatory place .
WISN 12 ABC Milwaukee spoke to Thomas Dixon, the owner of the store, and he said it was just a misunderstanding based on Henson’s car. Last week, the store had received two phone calls asking what time the store closed. An employee told the caller that the store closed at 5:30 pm. However, believing the calls to be suspicious, that employee closed the store at 5:00 pm on Friday and called the police. Then, at 4:58 pm, a red Chevy Tahoe with dealer plates pulled up, and police observed four men get out, speak to someone through the closed door, and then leave.
On Monday the red Tahoe returned. So employees called the police and locked the store.
Here’s the official statement on what happened next from the Whitefish Bay Police Department:
On Monday, 10/19/15 at 1:20 pm, Whitefish Bay officers were dispatched to Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers as the Red Tahoe had returned. Officers met up in front of 5500 N. Berkeley which is around the corner from Schwanke-Kasten.. [sic] They observed two men in front of the store. The officer ran the license plate and it came back to a Ford dealership and came back as “No Vehicle Attached” and was not listed as stolen.
The two Whitefish Bay officers approached the two men in front of Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers and asked what was going on. A man, later identified as John Henson, informed the officer that he was there to buy his first Rolex, but every time he tries the door, it’s locked and they don’t let him in. One of the officers asks him about the dealer plates on the Tahoe. He advises the officer that he plays for the Milwaukee Bucks and that Bucks players get vehicles from this dealership. Neither officer asked Mr. Henson or his companion for driver licenses or any other identification.
The officer called dispatch to request that a Schwanke-Kasten employee come to the front door. The employee told the dispatcher to have the officer come to the back door. After my officer informed the Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers employee that it was a Milwaukee Buck, the employee came to the front door and let them in. The employee requested that an officer stand by as they looked at the Rolexes, our officers refused and left the store. The officers then left the area.
At no time did Whitefish Bay Police make any notice to merchants on Silver Spring because of these incidents.
The owner of Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers says the store has been the victim of several robberies in the past 18 months. If that’s the case, it is understandable that employees would be a little paranoid.
That said, do armed robbers usually use brand new cars with dealer plates? Do they usually call and say when they’re going to show up? And do they usually come back a second time after getting foiled the first time?
I mean, John Henson would have to have been the dumbest jewelry thief in history, right?
Hat Tip – [Deadspin]