Woman accused of racism after calling cops on black family barbecuing at a lake, turns out...she was right
A black family was reportedly setting up their barbecue grill for a day at the park when a white woman approached them and asked them to wrap it all up
The United States is increasingly witnessing cases of racial profiling of black and other minority people in the country by its white citizens. The most recent alleged case being a white woman calling the police on a black family enjoying a barbecue by the at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, last month.
Over the last few weeks incidents of racial profiling incidents involve white people calling the police on black people and other people of color for activities like napping, sitting at a Starbucks, staying at an Airbnb and even for participating in a college campus tour.
In this alleged case, a black family was reportedly setting up their barbecue grill for a day at the park when a white woman approached them and asked them to wrap it all up otherwise she was going to call the police.
The unidentified woman eventually called the cops, citing that the black family was barbecuing in one of the park’s designated barbecue zones using a charcoal grill. Her problem with the family barbecuing at the designated spot was that they were using a charcoal grill, according to reports.
The entire incident, which occurred on April 29, was filmed by a witness present at the scene named Michelle Snider. Snider saw what was happening and approached the white woman calling the police and asked her what was the reason she was doing so. Snider's video went viral on Thursday after an East Bay news station KRON4 aired a segment on it.
One passerby named Angela Williams also stopped to ask why she was calling the police.
Williams, while talking to HuffPost, said that she just finished walking around the lake when she witnessed the woman standing close to the black man with this "frown on her face."
The passerby described the woman's stance as “aggressive,” “curt” and “non-friendly," according to reports.
"She was just close enough to be uncomfortable but far away that she wasn’t in their physical space," Williams added while talking to the news outlet.
The man, who was later identified as Onsayo Abram, also tweeted about the incident and took photos of the woman standing near the barbecue. Abram, while talking to San Francisco Chronicle, said that the white woman approached them and began arguing with him about his grill being illegal.
"I proceed to tell her, ‘Hey, there’s not a posted sign. I believe I’m in the correct area. Go on about your day and leave me alone.' So she said, ‘No, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I’m gonna need you to shut this down, or I’m gonna call the police," he told the newspaper.
Williams said that the woman continued to wait at the spot while confronting Abram, so she proceeded to strike a conversation with her in an attempt to diffuse the tension. However, she did not budge.
This was when Snider, who was there for the barbecue with her husband Kenzie Smith and his friends, stepped in and confronted the woman with a camera, filming the entire incident.
Snider then asked the woman: "Why are you so bent out of shape over them being here?”
“Because it causes extra money from our city to do things when children get injured because of improperly disposed coals,” the woman replied.
Snider, during the incident, claimed that the woman had taken her card without her consent and proceeded to ask for it back. The woman, however, refused to do so and said that Snider had offered it to her, which Snider denied and repeatedly asked for it.
The woman eventually walked to meet the police officers at a nearby convenience store and began to cry, telling them that she had been harassed. Snider, who was following the woman with a camera, asking her to give her card back, told the officers that she was the one who was harassing people.
Smith, while talking to KRON4, said he and his family have been coming for barbecues in that park for years and he has often seen people barbecuing there with charcoal grills.
“She said that we were trespassing, we were not welcome, and then she turned back around and said, ‘Y’all going to jail,’” Smith added.
According to the Oakland city website, Lake Merritt has six designated barbecue zones, there are three that permit charcoal grills and the rest are designated for “non-charcoal portable grills." The family was in a barbecue-designated zone, however, had a charcoal grill in a “non-charcoal” zone.
Oakland Council member Lynette Gibson McElhaney said that although the family was using the wrong kind of grill in the area, it was unnecessary to call the police over it.
“I think it is really incumbent on all of us that when we call police, it is for emergency purposes,” McElhaney told KRON4.
The police officers, later, took the accounts of both the parties involved in the incident, the black family and the white woman. No was arrested in the incident nor were any citations issued to anyone.
The incident, however, added to the ever-growing list of racism-related incidents, particularly involving black people in America in the recent months.