STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. — A Georgia doctor says all he wanted to do was open a new bank account, but minutes later, he says he found himself face-to-face with police after a bank worker called 911.
That doctor told Matt Johnson of WSB-TV he believes it's a case of racial profiling.
"Until it happens to you, you never know what it was feels like," said Anthony Onyegbula, who spends most of his days treating cancer patients as a doctor in Henry County.
But Thursday afternoon he spent part of his day under suspicion of being a potential criminal.
"They said I was suspicious, I was wearing a hat, and they thought I wanted to rob the bank, and I was like, ‘What?'" Onyegbula said.
The doctor told Johnson he was at the United Community Bank in Stockbridge to open a new account with his wife.
While he was on the phone with her, an employee was on the phone with 911.
In the call, the employee can be heard telling the dispatcher, "He went to the front door and he's been on his phone, and, I, um, called from my phone to tell the employees to lock the front door."
"I looked at the door and it said close at 4:30 and my time say about 2:15, 2:10. I'm like what happened?" Onyegbula said.
During the 911 call, the employee also said, "He's been on his phone out front. And we have no cars in the parking lot. He's a walker. So, I feel like he's up to no good."
Onyegbula said he and his wife left and went to another nearby bank and that's when they realized police had been called for him.
"Here come the same police, came inside the bank, now it's two of them, and they said they told the manager to clear the room, because they wanted to talk to us," Onyegbula said.
The officers left without filing any charges.
"So you think it was racial profiling?" Johnson asked Onyegbula.
"Yes," Onyegbula said.
But the doctor said the anger, embarrassment and confusion he still feels won't be going anywhere for a while.
"I think they need training on how to deal with people. You cannot judge someone from the outside," Onyegbula said.
The regional president for United Community Bank sent Johnson a statement, that reads:
"For privacy reasons, we do not comment publicly about the details of any customer or potential customer transactions. However, providing excellent customer service is our top priority and we are disappointed that we didn't deliver that to Drs. Onyegbula and Tedga in this case. This afternoon we were able to speak directly with Drs. Onyegbula and Tedga to personally apologize for the misunderstanding. We are glad for the opportunity to connect and improve, and hope to have an opportunity to earn their business in the future."
Cox Media Group