The men who were targeted by police called it “racial profiling” and a police over-reaction.
The two were apparently trying to open an account, but employees thought they appeared suspicious and called police. A bank employee said there is no security at the branch, which is across from the Old Orchard Mall.
After police surrounded the bank, both men surrendered. One man left the bank with his arms up, while the other sat on the sidewalk with two officers pointing machine guns at him. The men had no weapons.
After checking out the men’s story, Skokie police shook hands with them and let them go on their way.
The two men actually returned into the bank to complete their business, but said they don't think they'll be back.
Skokie police defended their actions, issuing the following statement about what happened:
On Monday, June 8, 2009, at approximately 10:00 a.m., at 10000 Skokie Blvd., the Bank of America manager contacted the Skokie Police Department regarding two suspicious males walking around inside the bank. The manager stated that upon entry, one male told the other male to tap him three times when he was ready; one male also had what appeared to be an object in his waistband.
Skokie police officers responded and established a perimeter around the bank.
The suspicious persons exited the bank without incident. They were identified and released without charges. It was determined that no crime had been committed.
About six weeks ago there was a robbery at a nail salon across the street from the bank, where the robbers literally stole ladies’ wallets while they were getting manicures. That may have added to the bank employees’ nervousness.
Chicagoland has seen over 200 bank robberies in each of the past four years.