'We're Pretending Like We're Closed:' 911 Calls Released in Alleged Racial Prejudice at NBA Player

The Milwaukee Bucks' John Henson posted about the incident on Instagram.

ByABC News
October 28, 2015, 5:50 PM

— -- Newly released 911 recordings have shed light on a recent incident that star NBA player John Henson has called one of the most degrading experiences he has ever had.

"They are at the front door," the person says in the Oct. 19 911 call earlier this month. "I don't feel comfortable letting them in."

That's what a store worker at Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, told a 911 dispatcher when Henson, a Milwaukee Bucks forward, tried to enter the store to buy a watch.

Henson said he first reached out to Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers via phone to find out what the store hours were. The 24-year-old NBA player, who'd just gotten a contract extension worth a reported $44 million, said he was looking to buy his first Rolex. On Oct. 16, he drove to Schwanke-Kasten but found that the store had been closed early.

Whitefish Bay police said in a statement the store's workers had called 911 to report a "suspicious" call. "They just didn't sound like legitimate customers," a worker told the dispatcher.

Police responded to the call and saw several individuals drive up in a car.

"The officer observed the people walk up to the door [of the jewelers] but it appeared that the door was locked," the police said.

When officers couldn't immediately identify the car's owner or driver, they told store workers to call 911 if the vehicle appeared again.

Henson eventually left and returned to the store Oct. 19. This time, he said, the store's employees locked the doors.

"I don't want them to see me out there," the worker says during the 911 call. "We're pretending like we're closed."

In the 911 call, a store employee said workers were hiding in the office. When officers arrived, they approached Henson and his friend and questioned them before alerting the 911 dispatcher that a Bucks player was, indeed, trying to enter the store.

"[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," the police statement said. "After my officer informed the Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers employee that it was a Milwaukee Buck, the employee came to the front door and let them in."

The worker asked the officers to stay but they refused and left, according to the police statement. The jewelry store's owner, Thomas Dixon, who met with Henson shortly after the incident, apologized.

"The situation was the result of a series of unfortunate misunderstandings. ... We believe that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect," Dixon said.

As for Henson, who posted a now-deleted Instagram about the incident, he said recently, "I think the post brought awareness to the situation. That's all I was trying to do and I think did."