You know how you go to deposit a check in the bank and you totally don’t get arrested for it? Well, an Iraqi-American doctoral student along with his family was arrested in Wichita, Kansas for depositing a check last Wednesday. Sattar Ali, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering at Wichita State, said he and his family were racially profiled and we tend to agree with him (citation: see the first sentence of this post).
Ali, who is originally from Iraq and came to the United States in 1993, explained that he was simply depositing a check for nearly $151,000 at the Emprise Bank, then suddenly, over 15 police cars showed up and arrested him, according to The Sunflower. It wasn’t just Mr. Ali who was arrested, but also his wife and 15-year-old daughter. The authorities even called his 11-year-old son’s school to have him detained because his parents were in custody.
The $151,000 check came from the sale of the family’s house in Dearborn, Michigan, according to KAKE.
Ali described being handcuffed as well as having his belongings confiscated by the police.
“I was talking to them for less than five minutes and I found the police behind me, handcuffed me, confiscated everything and took me outside,” he said. “They didn’t say why or what happened or what did we do.”
Wichita police said that they were called to the bank over an attempted forgery.
“Officers on scene made attempts to verify the legitimacy of the check, and were unable to do so,” police said in a statement.
However, Ali said that he did provide all of the necessary documentation and information needed to verify the check, including the information from the company that issued the check. In addition, Ali said that police did not take the steps to verify the check until after he was arrested.
“They jumped to conclusions,” Ali told The Sunflower, and added that it was because the check was “presented by someone named Sattar Ali, not James or Robert.”
Ali said that he and his family members were held in separate cells until they were released hours later after police confirmed that the check was legit.
“We were devastated. Terrified. Crying the whole time,” Ali said. “We had no idea what the arrest was for.”
“Let’s assume I made a mistake and gave them a bad check,” Ali said. “Why would they arrest my wife and daughter?”
This would make an interesting lawsuit, don’t you think?
Image via Mr. Ali’s Facebook page.