Updated: May 30, 2020
Stuart Ackerberg, the CEO and owner of MoZaic East building where the incident occurred, said he is still heartbroken from seeing the video of Floyd and decided to terminate the man’s lease.
May 27, 2020
A man in Minneapolis was accused of racially profiling a group of Black entrepreneurs after he threatened to call the cops after accusing them of not “belonging” in the office building.
The group of Black men works at Top Figure and they posted the video onto their business Instagram profile. The footage shows Tom Austin, questioning the men and asking them if they have a key FOB to access the gym. The group informed them that they had an office in the uptown Minnesota WeWork building and had every right to be there.
“What office? What office are you in?” Austin asked
“As you guys can see, we’re dealing with racism here,” said one of the young men.
Another responded, “We don’t have to tell you that.”
Austin continued insisting on seeing their keys.
The group shared the incident on their Instagram page saying there were “sick and tired of tolerating this type of behavior on a day to day basis.”
Austin later admitted that he “f***ed up” in an email to Newsweek, but insist that he thought members of the group were trespassing.
“It looked like one of the tenants brought four friends and I complained to them that this isn’t right and it’s unfair to the tenants who pay,” he said.
Austin claims that he spoke to the group when he walked in and noticed that they were handing the key to their other friends.
In his statement, Austin goes on to say that after approaching them they accused him of racial profilling.
“It wasn’t racial profiling” but simply a worry due to the “suspicious activity/behavior.” He added that he would have “done the same thing if they were white, or even a bunch of girls who were trespassing.”
“They were in my face and didn’t have pass cards, I took photos and called the property manager. I only called the building property manager! Never called 911,” Austin said in a statement.
He also shared surprised that the incident blew up, insisting that they were in the gym together for another 45 minutes and reported that they did a fist bump with each of them.
“There is way more to the story,” he said. “Fake news.”
With that last exit exclamation, I think it’s safe to infer where Austin’s political affiliation and cultural tolerance lies. Austin presumed that the group did not have keys. Either way, the threat of calling the cops for mild grievances is exhausting and we’re glad to see that the incident did not escalate.
According to reports, Austin has lost his lease at the office building.
This incident is just days after the horrific death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd who’s recent murder has sparked massive protest in Minnesota.