White man calls cops on Black men at Minneapolis WeWork gym

In yet another example of racial profiling, a man questions Black gym members about their right to be there

Tom Austin (Credit: screenshot)

There are constant reminders that being a Black person in America is exhausting and a group of young, Black men was given a vivid reminder this week. The men were racially profiled at a gym in Minneapolis by a white man who threatened to call the cops on the entrepreneurs.

READ MORE: George Floyd: Police deploy rubber bullets, chemicals on protesters

In a viral video, Tom Austin confronts the young men at the WeWork gym in Minneapolis, Minn. and demands to know if they are members and if “we belong” in the building. He took a photo of the men and threatened them with police despite being repeatedly told they were not committing any wrongdoing.

“What office are you in? I’m calling 911 now,” Austin, a venture capitalist who runs the F2 Intelligence Group, says.

Austin is then shown on the phone and declares, “whole bunch of people who don’t appear [inaudible].”

In a post shared to Instagram by Team Top Figure, a social media consulting firm based out of the Mozaic East building, the gentlemen made it very clear that they had every right to be in the gym. They are entrepreneurs who said the encounter on Tuesday was an example of “racial profiling and age discrimination” that they face in their daily lives.

“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. As we were working out this man approached and immediately asked us who we were and if “WE BELONG” in this building,” the posted.

The caption continued with that they would not have been allowed entry into the private facility if they had not been given prior access. They wanted to come forward in the hopes of bringing an end to the kind of racial profiling Blacks experience on a daily basis.

“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. 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.”

Bring Me The News obtained a statement from Austin via email in which he denied that race played a factor in his actions. He claimed the incident was one about “several of these guys were trespassing and using a private gym that was authorized only for building tenants.”

He added that nobody cared about the truth and he felt threatened by the men.

“One of the tenants brought 4 friends and I complained to them that this isn’t right and it’s unfair to the tenants who pay,” he said. “They got in my face in a very threatening manner and I threatened back to building call security [sic].

“I would have done this regardless of race. So this is bulls**t.”

READ MORE: Amy Cooper dubbed ‘Central Park Karen’ fired from job after targeting Black man

The incident at this gym comes against the backdrop of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, being killed by police in Minneapolis earlier in the week. His dying words were that he couldn’t breathe as an officer placed a knee on his neck.

Floyd’s death has led to four cops being fired and protests around the city. It also comes after Amy Cooper weaponized the police against Christian Cooper, a Black man, no relation to her, in Central Park because she refused to put her dog in a leash during Memorial Day weekend.

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