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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

Kansas City resident Sattar Ali, an Iraqi-American doctoral student, was arrested along with his family after Ali attempted to deposit a large check from the sale of their home.

According to Wichita State’s student newspaper, the Sunflower, Ali, who moved to the United States in 1993, took a check for $151,000 from the sale of his family’s old house in Michigan to Wichita’s Emprise Bank. As he told local news station KAKE, he brought verification documents along with him, but a few minutes after he presented tellers with the check, he was in handcuffs.

After being taken outside, Ali discovered his wife Hadil and their 15-year-old daughter Hawra were in the backseat of the police car waiting for him. Sometime during their three-hour detainment, Ali said police called his 11-year-old son’s school to tell them to hold him because his parents had been arrested.

He said he didn’t discover until after they were released that he and his family had been arrested because the bank claimed they could not verify the large check and believed it was fraudulent.

“No one told me why I was being arrested until we were being released,” Ali told the Sunflower. “They didn’t read me rights or anything.”

“We were devastated. Terrified. Crying the whole time,” Ali said. “We had no idea what the arrest was for.”

Ali told the Sunflower he believes he and his family were racially profiled because the large check came from someone with his name and not someone named “James or Robert.”

“Let’s assume I made a mistake and gave them a bad check,” Ali said. “Why would they arrest my wife and daughter?”

Ali, who along with his wife and children are American citizens, lived in Wichita from 1998 to 2008, and was returning to get his doctorate in engineering from Wichita State, where his eldest son is a freshman. He said the arrest marked his first time feeling unwelcome in the Kansas City.

“I would expect this in the 1950s,” Ali said. “Not now.”

Noor Al-Sibai is a news writer for Bustle whose work has appeared in Everyday Feminism and in various local publications around North Carolina. 


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24 responses to “Kansas Bank Has Entire Arab-American Family Arrested After Father Tries To Deposit Check From Home Sale”

  1. dbtheonly says:

    Lawsuit to follow.

    Not that it’s any real justification but Michigan is not close to Kansas City. A large check, from out of State, is certain to raise eyebrows.

    Equally, isn’t this a foreseeable result of the, “See something, say something” campaign?

    • Mama Bear says:

      are you justifying this? The man said he brought all the documentation for the sale of the house – I’m presuming it was the HUD statement which is a legal document. This is just so wrong and so sad.

    • VM Cox says:

      No, this is not the legal or regulated response by a Bank. There are procedures to verify any transaction or conveyance of funds. None of them include calling the police and having people arrested for depositing a check. The Bank should be sued and closed for violation of several banking practice regulations.

    • How often do you hear of this happening to non-Muslims, or anyone else identified as members of the “preferred” segment of American society? And to be arrested on the spot w/o being read your rights, especially when you’re new to the country? Let’s show some insight and awareness of why America has come to be the way it is, let’s show some compassion for newcomers, and more indignation against a system which has evolved over the centuries to automatically suspect non-whites and/or non-Judaeo Christians.

  2. rednekokie says:

    It’s Kansas, and it’s Wichita. Need I say more?

  3. jakenhyde says:

    If I had accounts in that bank, they would have been closed immediately….if not sooner. Wichita’s white rednecked attitude shows its ugly face.
    Face it, the electorate keeps electing Brownback and because of his giving his rich buddies tax breaks, the state’s economy is circling the drain.

  4. pjm19606 says:

    A classic case of police boredom. This family will OWN the Wichita PD.

    • Beethoven says:

      It’s not the police department that’s in trouble, though there might be a case against them for false arrest. The big law suit will be against the bank, which will be lucky if it can settle the case for less than half a million dollars.

  5. Richard Prescott says:

    Good old midwest values at work here. Where the core of Trump’s support is. Or should we blame it on the Governor who ruined the state’s economy and education systems because he was such a Tea Party idiot.

  6. TCarlucci says:

    An electronic funds transfer to a real bank would have avoided all this mess.

  7. PrecipitousDrop says:

    On the one hand, Sattar Ali and his family have excellent grounds for spectacular legal action against the bank, the police, and the DA (or whoever authorized the arrest and detention of his family) in Wichita.
    On the other hand, it is Wichita KS, located in the heart of Trump’s Islamophobic America. He’s probably lucky he wasn’t shot on the spot.

  8. Daniel Jones says:

    What do you expect, justice and democracy? THIS IS ‘MURICA!!

    I am so ashamed.

  9. Such is the sad and demoralizing state of America. The average “sufficiently looking British” American would never have to undergo such humiliation and trauma. This is what the status quo conservative elements in America dream of doing to “the other”.
    Some sadistic thrill is derived by so many Americans who enjoy inflicting pain and suffering on others. The pretense of being a Christian nation just keeps getting exposed as a facade, and what lies underneath is appalling and quite disturbing.

    • Wrily says:

      There is something wrong with this story.

      • ralphkr says:

        I heartily agree with you, Wrily, that there is something wrong with this story and it is obvious that what was wrong were the actions of the bank and the police.

        • Wrily says:

          I don’t get the point of the arrest. Financial institutions routinely freeze check deposits until they clear. If Ali had an account they knew where to find him. I would call it malicious racism.

          • ralphkr says:

            My guess, Wrily, is that the bankers saw a big check and a Middle-Eastern name and they immediately decided, “We have a chance to keep a terrorist from funding an attack.” and things went down hill from there.

  10. Wrily says:

    Was the check being deposited? Was Ali trying to cash the check? Is this story supposed to be considered journalism? What a crock.

    • ralphkr says:

      Evidently, Wrily, you did not read the first paragraph where it is written that Ali ATTEMPTED TO DEPOSIT the check.

      • Wrily says:

        I don’t know how I missed it. I went back and reread that article multiple times before I posted and still didn’t see it. It’s also in the headline itself. Go figure. Thanks for pointing out my mistake.

        • ralphkr says:

          Thank you, Wrily, for your exceptionally polite reply. It is unusual because I seem to start miniature flame wars (brush fire?) when I have the temerity to correct someone.

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