Black man trying to open his own business held by police after neighbor reports him
The stand owner said that the officers asked to see his hands, which were inside his pockets, and then told him to prove that the store was his.
A neighbor of a black man in San Francisco called the police on him while he was trying to open his own high-end lemonade stand. Reports state that the man was questioned by police officials who told him that his neighbor had accused him of "breaking into" the stand.
The man, identified as Viktor Stevenson, was testing out his own security system on Thursday at Gourmonade when four police officers approached him, he told NBC Bay Area. Reports state that Stevenson had opened his lemonade stand five days earlier.
Stevenson said: "I say, ‘Oh, did the security system go off? If it did, my apologies. I am on the phone with the company now." He added that it was then when the officers told him that a neighbor had reported him for "breaking into" the stand.
The stand owner said that the officers asked to see his hands, which were inside his pockets, and then told him to prove that the store was his. When Stevenson showed them the keys to the store, they asked to see his ID too.
The incident came to light after Stevenson wrote an account of what happened in a Facebook post on Thursday. Stevenson said: "Being black at my business minding my business and someone called the police and said I was breaking in. People die because of this kinda misuse of police resources and racial profiling everyday."
Stevenson, while talking to AJ+, said that this is not the first time he has felt threatened or faced racism for being a black business owner. Stevenson said that a few months ago, someone wrote "monkey juice" on the side of his store. The incident occurred when he was still setting up his business.
An emotional Stevenson said: "This isn’t anything new for me, but it’s new for me as a father and as a husband. And I don’t think my family or any other family should have to go through this for no reason."
The United States is increasingly witnessing cases of racial profiling of black and other people of minority communities in the country by its white citizens over trivial matters and slightest of disagreements. The incidents include cops being called on a black Yale student for sleeping in a dormitory and another where a white woman called cops on a black family enjoying a barbecue.
This is what it's like for a black business owner in a gentrifying SF neighborhood: Racist graffiti and calls to the police for unlocking your own store. pic.twitter.com/F9lVsIaKM7— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 20, 2018
Last month, police officials were called on a black firefighter who was participating in a safety inspection in Oakland, California. There are over dozens of similar cases being reported in the country, which have sparked a fierce debate stating the danger people of color face in America when they are unjustly reported to police.