‘There is a group “who don’t appear” to belong here,’ Tom Austin the CEO of a Minneapolis venture capital company, said after he called the building manager on the group of Black men, all the while threatening to call 911
Austin who is white was kicked out of the Minneapolis office building after he was filmed threatening to call cops on Black businessmen using gym – one day after death of George Floyd
Tom Austin insinuated the group of men were not allowed to be in the gym, on Tuesday evening
However, the black men were renting an office space in the same building, same as Austin
The group of men were entrepreneurs, and run the business Top Figure together
They posted the video to Instagram, marking the latest in a series of racially charged incidents making headlines this week across the U.S., two in the city of Minneapolis
The face of color-biased intolerance: Venture capitalist Tom Austin threatened to call the cops on a group of Black men working out in an office gym shared by a number of businesses in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
A white venture capitalist who threatened to call the police on a group of Black men entrepreneurs working out in a Minneapolis gym on Tuesday night has had his office lease terminated.
The office building where the confrontation took place holds several offices and a WeWork co-working space, in which businesses can rent shared offices and work spaces, and has a communal gym. The men were actually entrepreneurs from another business – Top Figure – and have posted the video on Instagram
The Black men who run a business in the building posted the video of Austin challenging them on Tuesday night, the same night video emerged of George Floyd’s death at the hands of cops in the city.
Ironically this ugly scene was unfolding at the time the city began days of unrest in the city over Floyd’s death at the hands of four white police officers, one of whom knelt on his neck until he lost consciousness while arresting him for allegedly trying to use a fake $20 bill.
The face of color-biased intolerance: ‘What office? What office are you in? To Austin who is white, threatened to call 911 on black men in the gym in a building where all the parties shared office space
In the video of the gym altercation recorded by one of the men, the white man identifies himself as Tom Austin, saying to the men ‘I’m a tenant here. Are you?’ to which the men respond that they also have an office in the building.
In the video Austin persists, however, saying ‘What office? What office are you in?’ to which the group of men say they do not have to answer his questions.
He then threatens to call the police.
Austin is the CEO of a Minneapolis venture capital company called F2. The men were in-fact entrepreneurs themselves, and operate a social media and branding business called Top Figure out of the office building – MoZaic East – in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood.
As Austin appears to phone someone, the man behind the camera says: ‘As you guys can see we’re dealing with racism here.’
On the phone, Austin can be heard saying ‘there’s a whole bunch of people who don’t appear to be…’ before his conversation becomes inaudible. It turned out he was calling the building manager, Austin revealed later in an interview with Business Insider.
He told the news outlet that the property’s building manager had emailed tenants about concerns that non-tenants had been using the gym, and that he had not seen the men use their individual key FOBs.
Top Figure is a social media and branding agency and based in the building in Minneapolis, pictured above.
Austin has since apologized for his conduct. He said; ‘Yes, I f****d up. Should have handled it differently. Not my job to have done anything. Building management had been complaining that tenants were allowing their friends to trespassing and use a private gym that was authorized only for building tenants.
Said hello to everyone when I walked in. But after working out for 10 minutes, I noticed that one of the tenants seemed to have brought 4 friends and I complained to them that this isn’t right.’
‘One guy was letting his other 4 friends in and out of the building with his pass card FOB. Four guys didn’t have a FOB. When I said something, they got in my face accusing me of racial profiling. I said it wasn’t racial profiling and it was all about suspicious activity/behavior. Because they were in my face and didn’t have pass cards, I took photos and called the property manager. I only called the building property manager! Never called 911.
‘When I left the gym, at the end of the night I said “Have a great night, hope we’re good.” and did a fist bump with each of them! There is way more to the story. Fake news!’
Along with the video of the confrontation, Top Figure posted a statement about the incident on Instagram, explaining that they all pay rent at the office space and have built their business there for a year and a half.
‘Normally we don’t speak out about encounters of racial profiling and age discrimination that we face day to day in our lives as young black entrepreneurs.
‘Although today May 26th 2020 7:51 p.m. we encountered a situation where a man entered the facility, a shared private gym that we utilize in our 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.
‘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,’ the post concluded.
Austin said that he and the men continued to exercise together in the gym, telling Business Insider that he thought he was being helpful, and that the argument had blown over after they went their separate ways.
‘There is a group “who don’t appear” to belong here,’ Tom Austin the CEO of a Minneapolis venture capital company called F2, said after he called the building manager on the group of black men, all the while threatening to call 911
The incident has sparked protests in Minneapolis and public outrage against police brutality, and the four MPD police officers involved have been fired, with further investigations pending.
The face of color-biased intolerance: George Floyd was filmed Monday begging the Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin to stop kneeling on him, [photo], and telling him he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and later died
People survey the carnage and hulk of burnt automobiles in Minneapolis, Thursday morning after a night of unrest and protests over George Floyd’s death
All four police officers involved in the fatal arrest were fired on Tuesday and have been identified as Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng.
Frey said that most people, especially people of color, would already be behind bars over the incident, and urged Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to lay charges on the officer.
‘I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: “Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?”‘ he said.
He later added: ‘I saw no threat. I saw nothing that would signal that this kind of force was necessary.’
The face of color-biased intolerance: Amy Cooper was walking her dog off the leash in Central Park in New York. When a black man, Christian Cooper [no relation], who was out bird watching, asked if she could put her dog on the leash, she called the cops on him, saying her life was being threatened.
Illustrating the pervasiveness of color and race based intolerance in the country, on the same day, Monday, May 25, around 8 am, a New York based investment named Amy Cooper was walking her dog off the leash in Central Park in New York in an area with signs posted informing park users to keep their dogs leashed at all times.
When a bird watcher, Christian Cooper – who is black, asked Amy, who is white, if she could put her dog on the leash, she called the cops on him, saying her ‘life and her dog was being threatened by a BLACK MAN!’.
Feigning hysteria, she demanded the cops send a team right away
She has since been terminated from her job as head of insurance investment solutions at Franklin Templeton on Tuesday, just hours later after having been placed on administrative leave a day earlier.
Following the backlash against Cooper’s actions, New York State Lawmakers Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and Senator Brian Benjamin introduced new legislation Tuesday that would make falsely reporting an incident as a hate crime illegal, should it pass.