Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson said last week he had been racially profiled at a Whitefish Bay, Wis., jewelry store, where he went to buy his first Rolex only to find the doors locked. Henson rang the bell and nobody answered, because store employees were in the back calling the cops.
Since then, Henson and the police have issued lengthy statements on what happened. The jewelry store called it a “misunderstanding.” Now add to that the dispatch audio, released Friday, documenting phone calls from the store as well as chatter between dispatch and the officers sent to the store. The full audio, via WTMJ, is below and worth listening to, but there are a few key moments notable for how they sound in comparison to the store owner’s statement that this wasn’t racial profiling.
The audio starts with a call from Friday, Oct. 16, with a woman saying the store had gotten “a couple suspicious phone calls” and would like an officer to come and sit in front of the store until it closes. The dispatcher asked the woman to describe the calls and she said ,“They’re just asking about what time we’re gonna close and they just didn’t sound like they were legitimate customers.”
The audio picks up again on Monday, Oct. 19, the day that Henson said he was profiled. In this call, the woman tells dispatch, “We had some suspects Friday. They had stolen plates on their cars. The officer told us if they came back we were supposed to call again. They’re at our front door now, and we’re not letting them in.”
(Henson said he was in a dealer-provided car, per his Bucks contract. Police Chief Michael D. Young later said that an officer told the store on Friday that the plates “were potentially stolen but that they were not listed as stolen” after a check with the dealer revealed the dealer had no idea what happened to the plates.)
The dispatcher asks questions about the vehicle: what are the plates, what does it look like, etc. The store employee explains that she can’t see the vehicle because she’s hiding.
Employee: “I am hiding in the office. I don’t want them to see me out there. We’re pretending like we’re closed. So no one is on the floor. We’re not opening the door. We’re just staying in the back.”
Employee (to someone not on the phone): “He’s not answering the telephone calls is he?”
(inaudible chatter by someone not on the phone)
Dispatcher: “You can’t see them though right now?”
Employee: “I’m taking a look at the monitor. They are at the front door. They’re looking into 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 is heard telling someone “Stay out of the view. Stay out of view.” When dinging noises appear in the background, she explains,“They keep ringing the bell. They keep ringing it over and over again.”
Eventually officers arrive and the dispatcher says she is hanging up. There’s more chatter as the officers talk about the plate and what the dealer had told them. An officer asks dispatch to call the store and tell them to come to the front door.
Dispatcher: “I have officers there they’d like for you to come to the door if you could please.”
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 going to the front door.”
Dispatcher: “OK, they’re going to come to the back. Can you meet them in the back then?”
Employee: “Who’s coming? The officers?”
Dispatch (her voice is raised): “The officers are out there with those subjects and I have an officer that would like to speak with you Patty. Now he’s gonna go to the back door per your request.”
Here is the full audio, via WTMJ. Enjoy the Wisconsin accents.
Image via Associated Press