Reports of counterfeiting are plentiful, with multiple stories reported every day around the U.S. and the world. We don't typically discuss them unless there's an unusual aspect. In this case,
the "fake" note turned out to be real but led to a heap of trouble regardless. -Editor
Emory Ellis, who lived on the streets in Boston, ventured into a Burger King in November 2015 to buy breakfast.
He left the restaurant under arrest, wrongfully accused of trying to pay for his meal with a fake $10 bill. He spent more than three months in jail.
This week, Ellis, 37, sued Burger King and the store franchisee for nearly $1 million, saying he was discriminated against for being black and homeless. The lawsuit comes amid a resurgence in a national debate about the
treatment of black people in businesses and public spaces.
“I know that had I walked into the Burger King with the exact same $10 bill, nobody would have scrutinized it,” said Ellis’s attorney, Justin Drechsler. “I never would have been accused of anything. I certainly wouldn’t
have had the police called on me, no matter what the series of events.”
Ellis was arrested and charged with forgery of a bank note. The arrest spurred a probation violation, and Ellis was held without bail until his final probation violation hearing, the lawsuit said.
Ellis was held until February 2016 after the Secret Service determined the $10 bill was real, according to the lawsuit. His money was never returned.
As much as I dislike shovers of counterfeit notes, three months in jail is harsh even when the crime is proven. And yeah, $1 million is clearly on the high side, too. In this case the time was triggered
by a parole violation but guess what? The note was OK after all. How much of the jail time was for the parole violation, and how much for the counterfeiting charge?
Have any of our readers been in a situation where a cashier questioned a banknote? What happened? Why should anyone have to sit in jail while the Secret Service gets around to making a determination? For facts, email me. For
opinions, see the 500+ entries in the article's comment section, and feel free to add your own. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
A Burger King worker thought a black man’s $10 bill was fake. He
was arrested. Now he’s suing. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/05/17/a-burger-king-worker-thought-a-black-mans-10-bill-was-fake-he-was-arrested-now-hes-suing/)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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