Former US Bank customer files lawsuit over ‘banking while Black’ experience

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A former customer of U.S. Bank is suing the Minnesota-based company in federal court, alleging racial discrimination during an incident at a branch in Bloomington.

Peter Wogbah, who is Black, had a business account with U.S. Bank, but when he attempted to get a cashier’s check from that account in December 2021, tellers repeatedly turned him away and called police.

5 INVESTIGATES obtained police body camera video of the incident last year.

The lawsuit also alleges federal civil rights violations, breach of contract, defamation and emotional distress.

“I felt like I was treated as a criminal even though I’m bringing in business, I’m doing business with them,” Wogbah told 5 INVESTIGATES in a recent interview. “I want them to change the way they treat people and the way they do business with … Black people.”

In a response to the lawsuit filed in court, U.S. Bank conceded that Wogbah was a customer but denied that he was “treated as a criminal” or that his race played a role in how he was treated.

The written response added that “all actions taken by U.S. Bank were for legitimate, nondiscriminatory business reasons.”

Wogbah’s experience was also highlighted in testimony at a U.S. Senate committee hearing on discrimination in banking last month.

His lawsuit is not the first time U.S. Bank has been accused of discriminating against a Black customer.

5 INVESTIGATES obtained police body camera video of an incident involving Joe Morrow at a U.S. Bank branch in Columbia Heights in October 2020.

Morrow was handcuffed and falsely accused of fraud by a branch manager when he attempted to cash his paycheck.

U.S. Bank and Morrow later reached a confidential settlement.

A court date for Wogbah’s lawsuit has not yet been scheduled.