Chase Bank Calls Cops on Black Mayor in his Own City

Mayor Richard Thomas of Mt. Vernon, New York claims that the employees of the White Plains Chase office were guilty of racial profiling when they called the police on him.

What We Know:

  • Thomas went to the JP Morgan Chase office to deposit a six figure check and to gain access to the city’s financial records. He was accompanied by Marilyn Crawford, the President of the city’s Industrial Development Agency, and Mt. Vernon Police Detective Jose Centeno.
  • According to the Mt. Vernon police report, an employee noticed that Centeno, who was not in uniform, had a gun on him.
  • In a statement to the police, the managing director of the office stated that Thomas seemed to be irritated because of how long he had to wait. Centeno had left the building and that is when the police were called. Centeno was met by security when he tried to re-enter and security advised that he could not enter because of his gun. The police report also states that Centeno agreed to wait in the hallway and did not have an issue with it.
  • Joseph Evangelisti, the spokesperson for Chase stated, “Our staff acted appropriately.” Evangelisti also advised that the police never went up to the bank office and left right after Centeno identified himself as an officer.
  • Thomas wrote a letter to Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase in regards to the situation. “As a mayor and as a young, well-educated black man living during this turbulent time in society where police are being called on black people for going about everyday life, this is unacceptable.”
  • In addition to the police being called, Thomas was also denied access to the city’s accounts. Thomas had previously filed a court order against city Comptroller Deborah Reynolds to allow him access to the city’s financial records and was trying to enforce it at that time. Reynolds continues to refuse access to Thomas while she is appealing the court order. This has been an ongoing battle between both of them.
  • While dealing with this, Thomas is planning to run for second term. He is also awaiting trial for criminal charges filed that accuse of him of stealing campaign funds and failing to report on ethics forms his receipts of money from his inaugural committee and several individuals and companies.

Thomas has asked the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to investigate why the police were called and why Chase denied him access to the city’s financial records.

We will continue to follow this story.