STORY TIME: During our time in Cali we have been staying at an Airbnb. The 30th was our second morning and at about 11am we checked out. The four of us packed our bags, locked up the house and left. As you can see 3 of us were Black. About 10 seconds later we were surrounded by 7 cop cars. The officers came out of their cars demanding us to put our hands in the air. They informed us that there was also a helicopter tracking us. They locked down the neighborhood and had us standing in the street. Why? A neighbour across the street saw 3 black people packing luggage into their car and assumed we were stealing from the house. She then called the police. At first we joked about the misunderstanding and took photos and videos along the way. About 20 minutes into this misunderstanding it escalated almost instantly. Their Sergeant arrived… he explained they didn’t know what Airbnb was. He insisted that we were lying about it and said we had to prove it. We showed them the booking confirmations and phoned the landlord… because they didn’t know what she looked like on the other end to confirm it was her.. they detained us – because they were investigating a felony charge – for 45 minutes while they figured it out. We have been dealing with different emotions and you want to laugh about this but it’s not funny. The trauma is real. I've been angry, fustrated and sad. I was later detained at the airport. This is insanity.The cops admit that the woman’s reason for calling the police was because we didn’t WAVE to her as she looked at us putting our luggage into our car from her lawn. #wedidntwave #arighttoberight #racialprofiling privilege #rightourstories #therevolution #whenyoupulloverfilmmakers @directedbykells@iamdonisha @komiolaf @ahutchphoto Nisha Rebel Ashlee Hutchinson
Posted by Kells Fyffe-Marshall on Tuesday, May 1, 2018
A trip to California turned sour for a group of Black filmmakers last week after they said they were swarmed by police and detained for 45 minutes after a neighbor called the cops on them, thinking they were robbers.
In a Facebook post, Kells Fyffe-Marshall explained she and a group of friends had rented an Airbnb, or a bed and breakfast, for their stay and were getting ready to check out. She said the four of them packed their bags, locked up the home and went on their way. Moments later, however, Fyffe-Marshall said they were surrounded by several cop cars.
“The officers came out of their cars demanding us to put our hands in the air,” she said. “They informed us there was also a helicopter tracking us. They locked down the neighborhood and had us standing in the street. Why? A neighbor across the street saw 3 Black people packing luggage in their car and assumed we were stealing from the house.”
Footage of the incident shows Fyffe-Marshall and her friends being questioned by police in the middle of the street. Several police cars are seen surrounding their rental car.
At first, the group of friends tried to laugh off the incident as a simple misunderstanding. However, things soon escalated after the police sergeant showed up. The friends said they tried explaining that they’d rented the home for their trip but the officer claimed he had no idea what Airbnb was. The officer insisted they were lying and forced them to prove their stay by showing their booking confirmations.
“[We] phoned the landlord, but because they (the police) didn’t know what she looked like on the other end to confirm it was her, they detained us,” Fyffe-Marshall wrote. “They were investigating a felony charge — for 45 minutes while they figured it out.”
After everything was sorted out, cops told the friends that the reason the neighbor called police was because they didn’t wave to her as they loaded their luggage into the back of their car.
“We’ve been dealing with different emotions and you want to laugh about this, but it’s not funny,” Fyffe-Marshall added. “The trauma is real. I’ve been angry, frustrated and sad … this is insanity.”
Her post about their harrowing experience has been shared nearly 29,000 times, drawing reactions from users who were just as outraged by the incident.
A white woman called the police because she saw black people moving luggage out of a house. She assumed they were stealing.
They were leaving their Airbnb.
I’m sorry white people but some of you really need to chill on the racism. Just let us live for goodness sake. 😳🙄😡😡 https://t.co/eDi8FDZd3T
— Lola Adesioye (@lolaadesioye) May 6, 2018
Being Black in America. White people can now call the cops on us and we are immediately guilty &arrested until we prove we’re innocent— if we live to do so…
— Dee (@Beauty_in_flaws) May 6, 2018
This practice of “calling the police on blacks while…” is beginning to feel like a form of forced segregation. The premise being that if we (blacks or other people of color) are made to feel uncomfortable enough, we will remain in our communities. #ThisIsAmerica
— LTJ (@lakenya_johnson) May 6, 2018
Lets review everyone. Black people can’t, because of “white fear”
Police calls can turn deadly for POC.
Check out of a @Airbnb.
Workout with a valid membership
Move into their home.
Meets someone at Starbucks.
Tour a University (POC)
Drive, walk or breath?#ThisIsAmerica
— J.C. (@Sentios) May 6, 2018
Airbnb hasn’t yet weighed in on the incident.