WHITEFISH BAY -- FOX6 News has obtained 911 calls between Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers and Whitefish Bay police Friday, October 16th and Monday, October 21st. This, after Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson alleged racial profiling after a visit to the store on Monday.
Police say what happened at Schwanke-Kasten on Monday stemmed from a misunderstanding about the dealer plates on Henson's vehicle.
Officers were first called out to Schwanke-Kasten on Friday, October 16th -- after they were called about suspicious telephone calls made to the store by folks inquiring about when the store would close.
Police say those calls came in on Thursday and Friday -- and a decision was made to close the store a half-hour early on Friday as a result of those calls.
Dispatcher: “Police and fire dispatch?”
Caller: “Okay, hi --this is Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers calling, and I just called the non-emergency number of Whitefish Bay. We just had a couple of suspicious phone calls lately at this store and we’re just wondering if, for the next hour, one of the Whitefish Bay cops could park in front of the store ‘til we close.”
Dispatcher: “What were the phone calls about?”
Caller: “They were just asking about what time we’re going to close and it didn’t sound like they were legitimate customers.”
Dispatcher: “What’s your name?”
Caller: “Karen Randall.”
Dispatcher: “And what’s a good callback number for you?”
Caller: “We are at 414-964-1242. Usually officer Mike comes by once in awhile."
Upon arrival at Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers on Friday, police say:
"Our officer parked directly in front of Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers store in a dark brown unmarked 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicle. At approximately 4:58pm, our officer observed four individuals walk up to the door. The officer observed the people walk up to the door, but it appeared that the door was locked. He heard discussion between them and an employee inside the store. At this time, the lights in the store were turned off. The officer observed the people get back into the Tahoe, and they drove away. The officer noticed that the Tahoe had a State of Wisconsin issued dealer license plate. The officer queried the state TIME system to ascertain ownership of the vehicle. It listed to a Wisconsin dealership, but not to a specific vehicle.
Our officer called the dealership and provided an employee with the plate number and a description of the vehicle. The employee stated that the plate listed to a partner dealership and transferred that officer to the other dealership. This person did not recognize the vehicle nor the occupants as being from the dealership. The officer inquired about ways people could get a hold of these type of plates and the employee informed the officer that they ship many cars to Chicago and it's possible somebody stole the plates.
My officer called the Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers employee back and informed her that he had spoken to the dealership with whom the plates are listed. He informed the employee that the dealership was running low on plates and that the plates were potentially stolen, but that they were not listed as stolen. He advised the employee that if the vehicle came back, to call the station."
On Sunday, police say Tom Dixon, Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers' owner, came into the Whitefish Bay police station to report that a Green Bay store that sells Rolex watches was burglarized overnight. He provided a surveillance photo from that incident of a white male in a mask -- and requested extra watch at his store when it opened on Monday.
On Monday, another call was made to police from Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers. Schwanke-Kasten officials reported the vehicle seen on Friday at the store had returned.
Dispatcher: “Police and fire, how can I help you?”
Caller: “This is Patty Dixon calling from Schwanke-Kasten. We had some suspects Friday -- they had stolen plates on their car. The officer told us if they came back, we’re supposed to call again. They are at our front door now and we’re not letting them in.”
Dispatcher: “Okay, what kind of suspects? Can you describe them? Male or females?”
Caller: “They’re…what are they? I can’t see them. Two… two black males. One tall, one real short.”
Caller: “Males, black, African-American males.”
Dispatcher: “And it’s the same suspects from last week Friday’s incident?”
Caller: “Um, they were here Friday at 5:30 when we closed.
Dispatcher: “And they’re at the store?”
Caller: “They’re…one is at the front of the store.”
Dispatcher: “What’s the address there?”
Caller: “417 East Silver Spring.”
Dispatcher: “Is the door locked?”
Caller: “The doors are locked.”
Dispatcher: “Okay, I’m going to get squads going. Just stay on the line.”
Caller: “They’re just at the door. They haven’t done anything -- but they did have stolen plates on their car and…”
Dispatcher: “How do you know that?”
Caller: “Because the officer that was here on Friday called to tell us that, and he said if they come back we’re supposed to call.”
Caller: “We haven’t let them in because we were closed when they were here on Friday because… “
Dispatcher: “What are the stolen plates?”
Caller: “I’m not out on the floor right now…”
Dispatcher: “So you don’t see it?”
Caller: “On Friday when they were here, they were, I believe MV-777 and they were dealer plates.”
Dispatcher: “They’re dealer plates?”
Caller: “Yes, and the Whitefish Bay police officer that was here on Friday said that they were stolen off a car…”
Dispatcher: “Was it a red Tahoe Patty?”
Caller: “Yes, it was a red Chevy Tahoe.”
Dispatcher: “Do you see that red Tahoe out there?”
Caller: “I don’t see it. I’m hiding in the office. I don’t want them to see me out there. We’re pretending like we’re closed.”
Dispatcher: “Oh, okay.”
Caller: “So no one is on the floor. We’re not opening the door. We’re just staying in the back.”
Dispatcher: “Can you… you can’t see them though right now?”
Caller: “I’m trying to look at the monitor. They are at the front door. They’re looking in the window. They’re just kind of pacing back and forth. I don’t feel comfortable letting them in. I just really don’t at all.”
Caller: “It just seems bad to me.”
Dispatcher: “Let me know when you see officers out there. They’re kind of in the area right now.”
Shortly before 1:30 p.m. on Monday, officers were dispatched to Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers.
Police say officers met up in front of 5500 N. Berkeley, which is around the corner from Schwanke-Kasten. They observed two men in front of the store. The officer ran the license plate of the Tahoe the men arrived in, and it came back to a Ford dealership and came back as "no vehicle attached" and was not listed as stolen.
The two Whitefish Bay officers approached the two men in front of Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers and asked what was going on. A man, later identified as John Henson, informed the officer that he was there to buy his first Rolex, but every time he tries the door, it's locked, and they don't let him in. One of the officers asked him about the dealer plates on the Tahoe, and police say Henson told them he plays for the Milwaukee Bucks, and that the Bucks players get vehicles from this dealership. Neither officer asked Henson or his companion for drivers licenses or any other identification.
The officer called dispatch to request that a Schwanke-Kasten employee come to the front door.
The employee told the dispatcher to have the officer come to the back door.
Dispatcher: “Is this Patty?”
Dispatcher: “Whitefish Bay dispatch. I have officers there and they’d like you to come to the door please.”
Caller: “Why? I don’t feel like it. Why do I have to come to the door? Can an officer come to the back? I’m not coming to the front door.”
Dispatcher: “Okay, they’re going to come to the back. Can you meet them in the back then?”
Caller: “Who’s coming?”
Dispatcher: “The officers are out there with those subjects and I have an officer that would like to speak with you Patty. Now he’s going to the back door per your request.”
Police say when an officer informed the Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers employee that it was a Milwaukee Bucks player looking to enter the store, the employee came to the front door and let them in. The employee requested that an officer stand by as they looked at the Rolexes -- but police refused, and left the store.
The officers then left the area.
After this incident on Monday, John Henson took to Instagram -- alleging racial profiling at Schwanke-Kasten:
“Went to @schwankekasten jewelry today in Whitefish Bay during regular business hours.
They locked the door and told me to go away.
After I rang the doorbell twice everyone went to the back. No (one) answered the door or told me what was going on. This was followed by two police cars pulling up and parking across the street and watching me for 5 minutes. I assumed they were called by the store.
I was then approached by 2 officers and questioned about the dealer vehicle I was in which is a part of my endorsement deal with Kunes Country Chevrolet and asked me what I wanted amongst other things that were just irrelevant to me being there just trying to shop at the store like a normal paying customer would do.
I told them I was just trying to look at a watch. He then had to go in the back and tell them to come out -- it was safe -- but this is after they ran my plates and I overheard them talking about doing more of a background check on the car. The employees finally came out of the back and proceeded to conduct business like they previously were as we walked up . This was one of the the most degrading and racially prejudice things I've ever experienced in life and wouldn't wish this on anyone . This store needs to be called out and that's what I'm doing . You have no right to profile someone because of their race and nationality and this incident needs to be brought to light and I urge anyone who ever is thinking of shopping here reads this and doesn't bring any business to this discriminatory place."
Tom Dixon, the store's owner, met with Henson face-to-face on Tuesday -- and offered him an apology:
The following statement was issued Tuesday by Dixon after he met with Henson:
"I appreciated the opportunity to personally meet with John Henson this morning to look him in the eye, shake hands, and apologize. No one should ever have to experience what he experienced.
We all agree that racial profiling is never acceptable and deeply regret how the circumstances unfolded Friday and Monday.
John Henson is a valued member of the Bucks basketball organization and a valued member of the Milwaukee community. We believe that everyone - professional athlete or not - deserves to be treated with dignity and respect."
Henson had this to say about the apology:
"It doesn`t make it right. It's unfortunate. I came at the time where things were happening to the store -- but at the same time, I think steps could have been taken to prevent what happened (Monday) had someone come to the door and said, 'can I help you?'" Henson said.
The president of the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP issued a statement on Wednesday -- saying this incident was "a blatant example of the type of racial profiling and stereotyping that occurs all too often in situations involving retail services, law enforcement and other aspects of life." The NAACP president went on to say the "closed-door apology" to Henson is "not enough."