Bucks’ Henson: Jewelry store locked doors as I approached, called cops
John Henson is a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. He’s 6-foot-11. When he’s out and about, people notice. And according to Henson, a trip to do some shopping in a Milwaukee suburb ended abruptly with a police presence.
On Monday, Henson posted a photo to his Instagram account of a storefront that he claims houses a business that discriminated against him when he pulled up to shop for a watch.
Instead of being greeted by sales staff, Henson says the employees hid as if he were a would-be burglar, and that he got to chat with police as a result. Henson says the store went into lockdown when he arrived, and that even after explaining why the vehicle he was driving was badged as a dealer vehicle, he overheard police considering investigating further:
Went to @schwankekasten jewelry today in White-Fish Bay during regular business hours . They locked the door and told me to go away . After I rang the doorbell twice everyone went to the back. No answered the door or told me what was going on. This was followed by two police cars pulling up and parking across the street and watching me for 5 minutes ( I assumed they were called by the store ) . I was then approached by 2 officers and questioned about the dealer vehicle I was in which is apart of my endorsement deal with Kunes country Chevrolet and asked me what I wanted amongst other things that were just irrelevant to me being there just trying to shop at the store like a normal paying customer would do . I told them I was just trying to look at a watch. He then had to go in the back and tell them to come out it was safe but this is after they ran my plates and I overheard them talking about doing more of a background check on the car. The employees finally came out of the back and proceeded to conduct business like they previously were as we walked up . This was one of the the most degrading and racially prejudice things I've ever experienced in life and wouldn't wish this on anyone . This store needs to be called out and that's what I'm doing . You have no right to profile someone because of their race and nationality and this incident needs to be brought to light and I urge anyone who ever is thinking of shopping here reads this and doesn't bring any business to this discriminatory place .
A photo posted by @johnhenson31 on
With respect to Henson’s interaction with police and his vehicle referenced in the Instagram post, Whitefish Bay Police issued a two-page statement detailing the department’s recent interactions with the store and the officers’ encounter with Henson.
It said the department had advised the store to call police if a Red Chevrolet Tahoe like Henson’s arrived there after one parked outside the store days earlier raised suspicions that its plates were stolen. It also said the store had previously been robbed and on Friday had closed down early after repeated suspicious calls about its closing time.
The officers were dispatched to the store Monday afternoon "as the Red Tahoe had returned," the statement said. The officers talked to Henson, including questioning him about the dealer plates on his Tahoe, then requested that the employees open the door, according to the statement.
The officers who questioned Henson never asked for his ID and left the area after the store reopened, according to the statement.
The Bucks released a statement Monday afternoon calling the incident "very troubling."
"Nobody should be treated that way. We are trying to contact the store directly," the statement said.
Tom Dixon, the store owner, told WISN12 news Monday night that the misunderstanding was over the car, not Henson. The store has apparently experienced three armed robberies in the past year and a half, and one of the vehicles involved in that spree is from the same dealership as Henson’s vehicle. When employees saw the vehicle with dealer plates, Dixon said, they became suspicious.
Henson is not new to Milwaukee. The North Carolina product has played in at least 63 games for the Bucks each of the past three seasons. He has averaged 8.1 points and 5.5 rebounds in 200 career games.
The jeweler — Schwanke-Kasten — appears to have a Twitter account that was recently made private. After the incident, the store looked to have removed jewelry from their display cases:
Jewelry removed from the WFB SchwankeKasten store after John Henson from Bucks claims he was mistreated. pic.twitter.com/XzRw23fEWz
— Christina Palladino (@cdino22) October 19, 2015
— The Associated Press contributed to this report