American police sure have been responding to a lot of #ExistingWhileBlack calls as of late. This time, one of the victims just so happened to be the granddaughter of a famous Rastafarian known for calling out police brutality.
Donisha Prendergast spoke out about an encounter with police officers in Rialto, California last month, after she and colleagues had law enforcement called on them for moving luggage out of an Airbnb. According to the Grio, a neighbor did not recognize her group, so she smiled and waved at them. When the filmmakers did not speak to a stranger, the woman called police for suspicious activities.
Prendergast ultimately left for their next destination before police arrived. Unbeknownst to them, a helicopter had been summoned to follow them and was only called off after police assessed this was not another Orenthal Simpson-esque caper.
Many have the opinion that this, amongst the many other calls to the police for blackness in public spaces this year, sounds a lot like what happened to Trayvon Martin in Florida. Ironically, Prendergast has enlisted the help of the Martin family’s former attorney Benjamin Crump to look into the situation.
While the owner of the Airbnb followed up, assuring the women’s behavior was “rude” and “not about race,” the general public isn’t really feeling it. In her opinion, “strange people in a suburban neighborhood and they’re not friendly” is enough justification to call the police. In a world where a “regular” call to police can leave black folks dead or jailed, maybe being friendly to white strangers is frightening?
Hey, don’t take our word for it. Look at the video of the encounter for yourself up above.