Tom Austin Minneapolis man accused of racial profiling after calling police on black entrepreneurs at upscale gym. F2 Intelligence Group partner apologizes.
A white man has been accused of ‘racial profiling’ after questioning a group of black entrepreneurs in a Minneapolis gym about whether they are tenants in the building — and then threatening to call 911 to report them.
In the Tuesday, May 26th 2020 incident captured on film (see below) the man identifies himself as Tom Austin as he records the men in the Mozaic East building on Lagoon Avenue, according to Bring Me The News.
The clip was posted on Instagram by Team Top Figure, a social media consulting company based in the building, BMTN reported
‘I’m a resident in the building. Are you?’ says Austin, a venture capitalist and managing partner of the F2 Intelligence Group.
When they tell him that they, too, are tenants, he asks which office
@WeWork, one of your tenants blatantly racially profiled a group of your tenants and called 911 on them, likely putting their lives at risk. I am requesting that you immediately evict Tom Austin’s company F2 Group from the premises and bar him from all @WeWork facilities. https://t.co/7VGBrhEppf
— Derek McCammond (@derekmccammond) May 27, 2020
‘We have an office here and this guy came accusing us we can’t be here,’ one of the black men says into the camera.
‘I’m calling 911,’ the man then declares.
‘As you guys can see, we’re dealing with racism here,’ one the men says as the white man appears to be reporting their presence to authorities.
According to the nypost, Austin has since conceded not handling the episode appropriately, telling the tabloid, ‘Yes, I f— up.’
‘I should have handled it differently’
‘Should have handled it differently. Building management had been complaining that tenants were allowing their friends to trespassing and use a private gym that was authorized only for building tenants,’ Austin said in an email.
‘I noticed that one of the tenants seemed to have brought 4 friends and I complained to them that this isn’t right and it’s unfair to the tenants who pay. One guy was letting his other 4 friends in and out of the building with his FOB. Nobody else had a FOB.
‘When I said something, they got in my face in a very threatening manner and so I threatened back to building call security. I would have done this regardless of race. In fact, I told them I’d have done the same thing if they were white, or even a bunch of girls who were trespassing,’ Tom Austin of Minneapolis added.
YOOOOO Stan Herman quit the F2 group Lmfaoo. If you call his number he said “I am no longer associated with f2 or Tom Austin. I don’t share his views and good day”. Lmfaoooo. https://t.co/nzG54Boi1l
— YERRRV Gotti (@BryptoQ) May 27, 2020
‘Do we belong?’
Austin said he was surprised at the backlash because he worked out with the men for 45 minutes after he ‘had already apologized to them for making them feel it was a race issue.’
In their caption with the video, the men described the encounter about 8 p.m. Tuesday.
‘Normally we don’t speak out about encounters of racial profiling and age discrimination that we face day to day in our lives as young black entrepreneurs,’ they posted on Instagram.
‘We encountered a situation where a man entered the facility, a shared private gym that we utilize in our @wework @mozaic_east office located in uptown Minnesota. Granted we’ve been in this office space and have rented and grown our business for the past 1 year and half here,’ they said.
‘As we were working out this man approached and immediately asked us who we were and if ‘WE BELONG’ in this building. Granted in order to enter the building you NEED a key card to enter EVERY part of the building which EACH of our team members individually have,’ they continued.
‘We all pay rent here and this man demanded that we show him our key cards or he will call the cops on us. We are sick and tired of tolerating this type of behavior on a day to day basis and we feel that we had to bring light onto this situation.’
Endemic racial profiling in America
Austin also made headlines during a controversy amid the renaming of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska, leading a group of homeowners to mount an unsuccessful legal challenge against the name change, BMTN reported.
The Minneapolis clip follows a Monday ‘racial profiling‘ episode at NYC’s Central Park, where video recorded by Christian Cooper, a black bird-watcher, showed him asking a white woman, Amy Cooper, to put a leash on her dog in the Central Park Ramble, in accordance with regulations.
Amy began approaching the man and snapped, ‘I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.’
The clip was shared on social media, sparking widespread outrage from viewers calling Amy a racist ‘Karen,’ social media shorthand for white women who call the cops on black neighbors over harmless incidents.
Amy who was making $170K has been fired by her investment firm Franklin Templeton.
The New York City Commission on Human Rights has announced it is launching an investigation in the case.
On Reddit, users lashed out at Austin over his comments.
‘He sounds like racist kermit the frog,’ one wrote.
‘I think Karen works well for all genders. He’s such a Karen,’ another said.
Similarly the Minneapolis episode follows another episode in the city involving the city’s police department following the death of George Floyd, 46, a black man who was wrestled to the ground by four Minneapolis cops on Monday after they responded to a report of an alleged forgery.
One of the officers was seen on video with his knee on Floyd’s neck while he was cuffed.
The four officers have been fired, but Floyd’s family demanded Wednesday that they be charged with murder.