A group of young Black entrepreneurs from Minneapolis say that they were racially profiled when Tom Austin, who is white, confronted them for using a shared private gym in a building where they rent office space. In a video posted on Instagram, the man is seen calling the police on them because they refuse to provide proof that they are tenants.
The video was posted by Team Top Figure, a social media consulting firm with an office in the same building where the incident happened is located. The men, who are young entrepreneurs, said the encounter was an example of “racial profiling and age discrimination” that they have to deal with almost every day.
In the video, Austin, a venture capitalist who runs the F2 Intelligence Group, can be heard questioning the young men if they “belong” in the building. He said, “What office are you in? I’m calling 911 now.”
Austin even took a picture of them and said he would call the police on them even though they said they did not do anything wrong.
The men clearly explained to him they are renting office space in the same building where they’ve been growing their business for almost 2 years. That’s the reason they have access to the shared private gym.
They said in the caption that they wanted to share the encounter with the world because they “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.”
Meanwhile, Austin claimed he called the police because he he felt threatened. “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. They got in my face in a very threatening manner and I threatened back to building call security [sic],” he said in a statement, according to Bring Me The News.
He added that his action was not driven by race, saying “I would have done this regardless of race. So this is bulls—.”