Milwaukee — Milwaukee Bucks center John Henson said Monday that he was racially profiled outside a Wisconsin jewelry store, prompting an apology from the store owner, who said the incident was a misunderstanding.
Henson posted an account of the encounter on Instagram, saying workers at the Whitefish Bay shop where he’d intended to look at a watch locked the door during normal business hours and told him to leave.
Henson, who is black, said he was then questioned by police officers about the vehicle he was driving and what he wanted to purchase. He called the incident “degrading.”
Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers owner Thomas Dixon told WISN-TV the incident was a misunderstanding that had to do with Henson’s vehicle, not his race. He also later issued a statement to multiple local media outlets, saying that the business regrets how the encounter unfolded and that he wanted to apologize personally to Henson.
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, it said.
Henson said in his post that the car was part of an endorsement deal with a Chevrolet dealer.
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.
Dixon said in his statement Monday night, “We all agree that racial profiling is never acceptable and deeply regret how the circumstances unfolded Friday and today.”
Dixon has reached out to the Bucks and hopes to sit down with Henson to “apologize for what he experienced,” the statement said.
Henson was the 14th overall pick out of North Carolina in 2012. He signed a four-year contract extension with the Bucks earlier this month.