Last week, we wrote about the reported racial profiling of John Henson, a fourth-year forward for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, while shopping for jewelry at a Milwaukee-area store.
Henson wrote in an Instagram post last week that after ringing the doorbell of Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers in Whitefish Bay, Wisc., two police officers came to his vehicle and questioned him. At the time, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Henson believed Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers president Tom Dixon's apology to be sincere, telling the paper that "(Dixon) knew that shouldn't have happened."
More details from the incident emerged today, via the 911 calls from the store obtained by NBC Milwaukee. Evidently, Henson wanted to buy his first Rolex and first called the store on Friday, Oct. 16th; the store deemed the call "suspicious," and decided to close the store early. They also called police, who dispatched an officer in an unmarked car to watch the premises:
Store Employee: We just had a couple suspicious phone calls lately at this store, and we were just wondering if for the next hour, one of the Whitefish Bay cops could park in front of the store until we close.
911 Operator: What were the phone calls about?
Store Employee: They were just asking about what time they're going to close. They just didn't sound like they were legitimate customers.
When Henson and a few friends arrived at the store later that same day, they found the doors locked. Police, parked outside, ran the plates on Henson's car, and called the store's management. Via NBC Milwaukee:
The officer says he told the manager “four black males excited the vehicle.” To which the manager replied, “that’s not our normal clientele.”
Henson returned to the store the following Monday. A store employee called police, telling the 911 operator they were under instructions from authorities to report if they spotted Henson's car in front of the store again:
"They're at our front door now and we're not letting them in. I am hiding in the office. I don't want them to see me out there. We're pretending like we're closed. They're looking in the window. They're just kind of pacing back and forth. I don't feel comfortable letting them in. I just really don't at all. It seems bad to me."
Later, the employee reported they were too scared to go outside:
911 Operator: I have officers there asking you to come to the front door if you would please?
Store Employee: Why? I don't feel like it. Why do I have to come to the door. Can the officer come to the back? I'm not coming to the front door.
The 911 calls can be heard here.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.