What was supposed to be a quiet stroll in the park turned sour for a Washington, D.C. man and his infant son after a random white woman called park security on them.
Donald Sherman detailed the incident in a May 10 Facebook post, explaining that his son, Caleb, was sick and running a fever, so he decided to stay home with him. Sherman wrote that he didn’t want his son cooped up in the house all day, so he took the little tyke to the nearby Kingman Island park for some fresh air.
About 30 minutes into their father-son walk, however, the doting father said he was flagged down by a “Special Police” security officer patrolling the area.
“I was a bit confused as to whether she (the officer) was looking for me to stop, but she honked twice and pulled over, so I got the picture,” Sherman wrote. “… She told me she received a complaint from someone who said there was a ‘suspicious man’ walking on the bike path with a baby. She said that when the complainant was asked to describe my race, she declined.”
It should be noted that Sherman is dark-skinned while his son is lighter-hued, likely leading the mystery complainant to assume that a Black man somehow kidnapped someone’s child. Sherman recalled seeing “… a white lady on a bike who veered off as Caleb and I walked in her direction,” noting she was the only person they encountered on their walk.
Luckily, the security officer was pleasant about the situation and sent the father and his son on their merry way. In his post, Sherman acknowledged that things could have ended much differently had a different security guard or an actual cop stopped him.
“This is exactly why we have to talk about white privilege and why Black lives matter,” he wrote. “Because at any point, doing anything, anywhere, my safety and my child’s safety could be in jeopardy because of some well-intentioned complaint.”
“But today is a good day, so we’re gonna finish our stroll,” Sherman concluded.
The “strolling while Black” incident is just the latest in a string of recent cases where the police were called on Black citizens for absolutely no reason. It comes on the heels of an incident at Yale University, where the cops were called on a Black graduate student who dozed off in the common room of her dorm. Meanwhile, a group of Black park-goers in California were harassed and reported to police by a white woman who accused them of “illegal” barbecuing.