“It was based on their rudeness and lack of good nature that caused her to call the police,” [Marie Rodriguez, owner of the Airbnb rental] said of the neighbor. “It had nothing to do with being black.”
Apparently the Rialto police pull out all the stops when they get calls about strange people with luggage who don’t wave to neighbors. As The Sun reports, they came ready to confront these
criminals travelers in a major way. Seven police cars showed up and a helicopter was dispatched to track the women.
Police initially called a helicopter, but it never arrived on scene. It was canceled before arriving, Hardin said. Officers also never displayed their firearms.
“However, during initial contact, the people that we stopped were in a car, and so when the officer made a frontal approach, he asked to see their hands,” Hardin explained. Their hands were below his eyesight, so he asked to see them.
While no one was injured, the entire encounter lasted for nearly an hour. The women were asked to establish their reason for being in the driveway. According to CNN, the police sergeant who arrived on the scene had no idea what Airbnb was. CNN writes:
A police sergeant showed up, [Kelly] Fyffe-Marshall says in her account, and said he didn’t know what Airbnb was. The group showed the police their booking confirmations and phoned the home’s landlord to convince police they were telling the truth.
The entire episode lasted a frustratingly long 45 minutes, she said.
“We have been dealing with different emotions and you want to laugh about this but it’s not funny,” she wrote. “The trauma is real. I’ve been angry, frustrated and sad. I was later detained at the airport. This is insanity.”
One of the women is the granddaughter of reggae singer Bob Marley. Her name is Donisha Prendergast and she and her friends are filing legal action against the Rialto Police Department. Who knows if they will win. Whether they do or not won’t change that it’s all too common for black people to have the police called on them for being black in white spaces. And apparently, not waving to white people can get the police called on you as well.
This is not just a police problem. It’s a problem that white people get scared so easily at the sight of black people. Oh, and just a reminder: this kind of thing rarely happens to white folks.