Another day, another incident of racial profiling. Except, this time, the person profiled happens to be NBA player John Henson, and he's not letting the profiler get away with it.
This particular incident occurred over the past several days in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin - a over 90% white, wealthy northern suburb of Milwaukee.
Here is the personal story from Henson's Instagram account:
Text caption (formatted for easier reading):
@johnhenson31: 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.
A recap of the story is described here (summarized from the Reddit /r/NBA sub-reddit):
Thursday, Oct 15th: Person calls store between 2PM and 3PM and inquires about closing times. Closing time is 5.30PM
Friday, Oct 16th: Person (not known if same person as day before) calls about closing times. Clerks decide to close at 5PM because of suspicious calls. Police camp outside from 3.57PM. At 4.58PM Henson + entourage of 3 arrive, store is closed, lights turned off, discussion with clerk (assuming something along the lines of "You said you were open til 5.30PM over the phone?"). Henson+3 drive off.
Officers check Henson's plates. Dealer plates. "Might be stolen, but not reported stolen." Tells this to store, lets them know to inform the police if car returns.
Sunday, Oct 18th: Store owner tells police a jewelry store in Green Bay got robbed by hooded white man, gives surveillance footage. (Store owner's store was robbed once 2 years ago) Robbery committed by a white male.
Monday, Oct 19th: Police arrives at store at 1.20PM. Henson+1 are outside, and the store won't let them in. Locked. Police gets informed he's a Buck, and that Bucks get cars from dealership. Police calls store to get them to open up front. Store wants police to come out back. Police goes out back and informs store that person is a Milwaukee Buck. Store re-opens, but wants police to stand-by as Henson+1 shop. Police refuses and leave the store and area.
TL;DR - store was worried about suspicious activity and called police, but even when police told store person is an NBA player, store still wanted police for safety.
John Henson is a multi-millionaire. To this date, he has earned over $5 million in salary, and he will earn $2.9 million this season. Also, just weeks ago he signed a contract extension that will pay him a guaranteed $44 million!
Class and wealth does not and will not shield people of color from racism and profiling. We see this time and time again. To anyone reading this that says #AllLivesMatter, I ask this: Do #AllLives deal with incidents like this? If a white NBA player was browsing the outside windows of the store, would the store close shop early?
I must say, however, credit the police for not bowing to the requests of the store. They figured out why the store was paranoid and explained the situation, and when asked to stay around even after told Henson was a perfectly fine potential customer, the police force basically told the store to fuck off. Broken clocks and all.
But yeah, just another day in "post-racial" America...