Elderly woman sues Wells Fargo Bank after police called over check

Wells Fargo Logo (Photo Source: Twitter/ Wells Fargo Verified account @WellsFargo)

Before all the drama regarding #Hello911TheyBlack this year, back in November 2017 there was another victim of outrageous racism that few have heard about.

It is the story of Dr. Barbara Carroll, 78, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who went to her local  Wells Fargo bank in Victoria Park and attempted to cash a check. Carroll presented her driver’s license and even her passport as identification, but an unidentified White teller apparently became so suspicious of both Carroll and the amount of her check that she told her to have a seat in the lobby while she spoke to the bank manager.

According to Miami New Times, the White manager then came out and asked Carroll what she did for a living to earn the money. The manager then informed her that the bank would not cash the check, 911 had been called and police were on the way. The manager also refused to return Dr. Carroll’s identification.

A shocked Carroll decided to wait in the lobby for police to arrive. After two hours had passed and police hadn’t arrived, Carroll called 911 herself. When the police finally arrived, they checked her ID and informed the bank employees that the license was valid. The bank then decided to cash Dr. Carroll’s check without an apology or any indication that what they did was wrong.

“I felt very embarrassed. I felt belittled. I can’t tell you the emotions I felt,” Carroll told the Miami News Times. “Things that we — and we being Black people — feel are sometimes brushed over, like, ‘Oh, she was just doing her job.”

In response to the encounter, Carroll filed a lawsuit this week alleging discrimination by Wells Fargo and its employees. To date, Wells Fargo Bank has not commented on the pending litigation over the incident.

What makes the whole episode so nasty and infuriating is that Carroll’s check apparently was for only $140.

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required