A Black father stays home with his son, Caleb, who has a fever. He decides to take his son out for some fresh air, and goes for a walk in a stroller at a nearby park.
“Thirty minutes into our stroll I got flagged by a security officer in one of those cars marked ‘Special Police’ on the side,” Sherman wrote. “I was a bit confused as to whether she was looking for me to stop but she honked twice and pulled over so I got the picture.
“She told me that she received a complaint from someone who said there was a ‘suspicious man’ walking on the bike path with a baby. She said that when the complainant was asked to describe my race, she declined.
“Nevertheless, this person, a White lady on a bike who veered off as Caleb and I were walking in her direction, saw fit to report me to security.”
“If this complaint had been made to a different security officer or an actual cop, things could have gone very differently,” he wrote.
“This is exactly why we have to talk about White privilege and why Black lives matter.
“Because at any point doing anything anywhere my safety and my child’s safety could been in jeopardy because some well intentioned complaint.”
A few weeks ago, Sigma Gamma Rho sister Shawna Harrell wrote about an incident she had while volunteering. She and her fellow sisters were accused of fighting on the side of the highway while they were picking up trash.
The girls had just taken a selfie in front of an ‘Adopt A Highway’ sign with the name of their sorority on it, while wearing Sigma Gamma Rho gear, when they were approached by a state trooper.
Harrell wrote: “As we approach him, he’s asking what’s going on are y’all fighting? ‘No sir we are cleaning the highway (pointing to the adopt a highway sign with Sigma Gamma Rho on it and trash bags).’
Trooper: ‘I’ve never seen anyone out here cleaning and I’m responding to a call.’”
The sisters explained that they were doing their community service, but still the officer asked each for her identification.
Harrell wrote: “The fact is you said you were responding to a call once we explained to you what was going on you knew what we said was factual why then proceed to ask us for ID?”
The stories are endless: A White woman calls the police on a Black real estate investor who is checking out a house even though he has an investment contract, business cards, and a sign in the yard; a White woman calls the cops on a Black family for having a BBQ in the park; Yale police are called on a Black student for taking a nap; and this week over 8,000 Starbucks stores were closed so the employees could undergo racial bias education because two men had the cops called on them for sitting in a coffee shop while Black.
According to a recent study, Black people are more likely to be arrested for low-level offenses, including tres-passing, than white people. For instance, in Minneapolis, Black people are 8.7 times as likely as White people to be arrested for a low-level offense. In New York City, Blacks and Latinos collectively make up 54% of the population, but make up more than 90% of those arrested for trespassing. In Jersey City, N.J., Black people are close to 10 times more likely than White people to be arrested for low-level offenses.
The study states: “These instances are not any more prevalent now than in the past. It’s that they are being posted on social media where everyone can see.”
One Yale student posted on Facebook: “This sorta incident breaks my heart every time,” wrote one man. “Why do White folks always call police on Black folks all the time? Why?”