Another alleged case of racial profiling has rocked social media.
On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, a video posted by the Instagram account of Team Top Figure revealed a White man questioning a group of Black men. During the exchange, which took place at a co-working space in Mozaic East building in the Uptown section of Minneapolis, the White man identifies himself as Tom Austin and says he’s a tenant of the building. He then asked the Black men if they were tenants.
One of the Black males responded by saying, “We’re all tenants in the building.”
Austin continued to question the men, asking them the floor and office number where their office was located.
When they declined to give him the information, Austin said, “I’m calling 911 now.” The video then cut to Austin on the phone saying, “There’s a whole bunch of people who don’t appear to be [inaudible].”
On the Instagram caption to the video, Team Top Figure wrote, “Normally we don’t speak out about encounters of racial profiling and age discrimination that we face day to day in our lives as young Black entrepreneurs….Granted we’ve been in this office space and have rented and grown our business for the past 1 year and a half here. As we were working out this man approached and immediately asked us who we were and if “we belong” in this building. (sic)”
Team Top Figure, which is a social media consulting group, concluded its Instagram post by writing, “We all pay rent here and this man demanded that we show him our key cards or he will call the cops on us. We are sick and tired of tolerating this type of behavior on a day to day basis and we feel that we had to bring light onto this situation. (sic)”
The incident comes as racial tension is heating up across the nation. Along with the death of George Floyd, which also occurred during an encounter with police officers in Minneapolis, a White woman in New York City, Amy Cooper, was fired from her job and forced to give up her adopted dog after she called the police and lied about being threatened by a Black man, Christian Cooper, in Central Park after he asked her to leash her pet.
According to the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis, Austin’s office lease was terminated after the video went viral. He previously made headlines in Minnesota after he campaigned to prevent the change to the name of a lake named after a proponent of slavery, John C. Calhoun.
View footage of the incident below:
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