Wichita police apologize for detaining man, family over large check

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) The Wichita Police Department is apologizing for an incident that led to a man and his family being detained over what was thought to be a forged check.

According to a release from the department, Chief Gordon Ramsay has reached out to Sattar Ali regarding the incident.

But Ali says it was a little too late for the call.

"We have the rights, we have the constitutional right, we have the freedom, we have a justice system, what happened to all of that? Where is innocent until proven guilty? Are we guilty just because of our look and our names until we're proven innocent later on?"

He says he has a legal advisor who has told him not to talk with the media anymore.

The group, Muslim Advocates released the following statement on behalf of Sarra Ali and his family in response to the latest statement from Wichita police:

“Several days ago, the basic errand of depositing a check at the bank was turned into a humiliating and terrifying experience for the Ali family. Sattar Ali was handcuffed, and he, his wife, and teenage daughter were all arrested and treated like criminals even though none of them did anything wrong.

The Ali family sincerely appreciates the words of apology and regret they have received from Emprise Bank and local law enforcement officials. They have not, however, been provided with any satisfactory explanation for why this incident occurred in the first place and what steps have been taken to ensure that it does not happen again.

The Ali family is currently considering all legal options as they continue to grapple with how such an ordinary day could turn into such a nightmare.”

On Sept. 6, police were called out to the Emprise Bank, 2140 N. Woodlawn. They say they had received information that a man approached a bank employee with a “fake” $151,000 check.

One Kansas Highway Patrol Officer, one Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Officer, and two Wichita Police Officers initially responded to the call.

Police say an Emprise Bank employee reported the check was altered, forged, and lacking watermarks. The employee stated the check was from a bank in Michigan, but the routing number on the check revealed the bank was actually in Cleveland. The bank was unable to verify the legitimacy of the check.

Ali said he told the bank he wanted to deposit the check from a home he had sold in Dearborn, Michigan.

Wichita police say they followed department policies. Ali and his family were all taken downtown to the police department's investigations division. About 48 minutes later, detectives verified the legitimacy of the check after making additional calls.

Police apologized to the family and took them back to their vehicle.

“Even though WPD Officers followed policy, we feel bad for what happened in the course of the investigation,” said Chief Ramsay. “When unfortunate situations such as this one arise, it creates an opportunity for dialogue between the police and the community. That dialogue can help us improve.”

The police department says the officers’ actions, in this case, are documented through written reports, body worn camera video, bank surveillance video, and a 911 call.