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White venture capitalist is kicked out of Minneapolis office building after he was filmed threatening to call cops on African American businessmen using gym

A white venture capitalist who threatened to call the police on a group of African American 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 African American 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. 

There has been days of unrest in the city over Floyd's death at the hands of four white cops, one of whom knelt on his neck until he lost consciousness while arresting him for allegedly trying to use a fake $20 bill.  

White man threatens to call 911 on black men in his gym

Venture capitalist Tom Austin threatened to call the cops on a group of African American men working out in an office gym shared by a number of businesses. The men were actually entrepreneurs from another business - Top Figure - and have posted the video on Instagram

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.

Tom 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. 

The men from Top Figure could not be reached for comment.  

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.

According to the StarTribune, Austin has since had his lease with the building terminated by the owners of the building the Ackerberg Group.

'My heart hurts,' said Stuart Ackerberg, CEO of Ackerberg Group, to the Tribune. 'This is not how we do business. … I'm alarmed by what I saw. It appears they had every right to be there and to use that amenity.'

Ackerberg said he spoke to Austin the day after the incident, saying that he told him he did not think the situation was handled well, and that there were other ways he could have approaching it.  

'It's unfortunate. Our goal is to create a safe and inviting experience for everybody,' he added.     

One of the businessmen from Top Figure filmed the confrontation with Austin, who has reportedly since had his lease terminated by the business that owns the building
Top Figure is a social media and branding agency and based in the building in Minneapolis, pictured above. The posted the video of Austin to their Instagram account.
Top Figure is a social media and branding agency and based in the building in Minneapolis, pictured above. The posted the video of Austin to their Instagram account. 

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.

The incident has gained significant attention on social media, with Top Figure's post on Instagram being liked by more than 50,000 people.

It is the third racially charged incident that has hit the headlines this week. On Monday, a video was shared on social media showing a white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd - a black man - for over 8 minutes until he died.

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.

Tom Austin is the CEO of a Minneapolis venture capital company called F2.

Tom Austin is the CEO of a Minneapolis venture capital company called F2.

George Floyd was filmed Monday begging the Minneapolis cop to stop kneeling on him and telling him he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and later died

George Floyd was filmed Monday begging the Minneapolis cop to stop kneeling on him and telling him he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and later died

Floyd's killing in Minneapolis has provoked days of unrest in Minneapolis, cluminating in looting last night, pictured.

Floyd's killing in Minneapolis has provoked days of unrest in Minneapolis, cluminating in looting last night, pictured.  

On the same day at around 8 a.m., a white woman named Amy Cooper was walking her dog off the leash in Central Park in New York. When a black man  - Christian Cooper, 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.

She has since been terminated from her job as head of insurance investment solutions at Franklin Templeton on Tuesday, 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. 

 George Floyd was arrested because he 'tried to pay store with a counterfeit $20 bill' as Minneapolis Mayor says he would still be alive if he were white after a night of violent protests which left a looter dead
The Mayor of Minneapolis says he believes George Floyd would still be alive today if he had been white, as it's revealed the 46-year-old black man was arrested, pinned to the ground, and 'murdered' by cops for allegedly trying to pay at a local deli with a counterfeit $20 bill. 

Floyd, a father of two, died on Monday night after a white police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes in an incident that was captured on video and has sparked violent protests and riots in the city that left one looter dead.

In widely circulated footage of his arrest, Floyd was seen on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back as white officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the pavement until he lost consciousness and later died.      

In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the co-owner of Cup Foods deli, broke his silence revealing one of his employees had called the police after Floyd allegedly handed them a bogus bill.

The store owner said a family member then witnessed Floyd being restrained and tried to intervene, reportedly asking the officer to take his knee off the man.  

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said earlier this morning that he considers Floyd's death to be a murder. 

'I'm not a prosecutor, but let me be clear. The arresting officer killed someone,' he told CBS. 

'He'd be alive today if he were white.' The facts that I've seen, which are minimal, certainly lead me down the path that race was involved.' 

Chaos continues: A shirtless man was seen running near a burning building in downtown Minneapolis after a night of unrest and protests over George Floyd's death
Chaos continues: A shirtless man was seen running near a burning building in downtown Minneapolis after a night of unrest and protests over George Floyd's death 
People stand on a burned up car as fires burn near a Target Store after demonstrations and riots turned violent

People stand on a burned up car as fires burn near a Target Store after demonstrations and riots turned violent 

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Comment by mr1stroke on May 30, 2020 at 11:48am

Why you mad he can get another job lol is he the reason why your ass cannot retired with all that education you got, seems like if it was you there would not be another jod due to who you support, aint that a shame when you live dumb

Comment by vaughn mitchell on May 29, 2020 at 9:19pm
Another Trump voter. Racist idiot, he will soon get another job.
Comment by mr1stroke on May 29, 2020 at 3:46pm

And whats the excuse for that to those who says there are good white folks? There is no excuse, this is the norm and who they are in due time they will show their true evil especially when times are hard, white people cannot struggle or suffer, right now the economy is kicking their asses and many black people are doing better, they are pissed

Comment by Robert on May 29, 2020 at 3:18pm
Minnesota is a state of complete incompetence. The police force are Keystone Cops at best. THEY ARRESTED a CNN reporter on the air. The cop that killed Floyd had 19 complaints. Amy Klobuchar ( Senator and Democrat presidential candidate) once declined to prosecute Derek Chauvin, cop in Floyd death

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