A family’s outing at an Oakland, Calif. park turned sour after they confronted a woman they claim called the cops on a Black family for barbecuing in an area of the park that does not allow charcoal grills.
Michelle Snider recorded video of her encounter with the unnamed woman at Lake Merritt Park last month after the woman complained the family was violating park rules by grilling. According to local station KRON 4, the park has six designated barbecue locations — three stationary charcoal areas and three non-charcoal portable grill areas.
The family was reportedly cooking in a non-charcoal grilling location.
“I just looked at the map and it says this spot is just fine to barbecue,” Snider says in the video. “This is exactly what is the problem with Oakland today. This lady wants to sit here and call the police on them for having a barbecue at the lake as if this is not normal.”
“[The police] have got other things to do other than sit here and listen to another white lady complain about Black people in Lake Merritt Park,” Snider added after the woman appeared agitated that police was taking too long to respond.
The woman, who had reportedly been waiting two hours for police to arrive, tells Snider it’s “illegal” to have charcoal grills in that section of the park and threatens to call police on the Black family again.
“She said that we were trespassing, we were not welcome, and then she turned back around and said, ‘ya’ll going to jail,'” Snider’s husband, Kenszie Smith told KRON 4.
Snider, Smith and the Black family continue arguing back and forth with the woman about the park rules, during which Snider jokingly dubbed the woman “the charcoal Nazi police.” At one point, the white woman snatches a card out of Snider’s hand and refuses to give it back.
Snider, who’s also white, repeatedly asks the woman to return her card, following her across the street to a convenience store to retrieve it. By this time the police have arrived and the woman bursts into tears, claiming she was being harassed and was assaulted.
” … I reported over two hours ago some people were illegally grilling in the park with a charcoal grill where they’re not supposed to. I was waiting there for a response because I was told they were coming. After two hours, I just called the non-emergency line, and in the interim these people came up and started harassing me, physically pushing me.”
After all was said and done, police took no action against the family and they were allowed to continue grilling. A report of the incident was filed, however, KRON 4 reported.
Oakland mayoral candidate Cat Brooks criticized the incident, saying things could have ended much worse for the Black family.
“When you engage law enforcement in these kinds of things, you’re opening the door for things to go very wrong, the potential for arrests like in Philadelphia with those two black men or worse physical assault or death and I don’t believe in this day and age that white folks don’t know that,” Brooks told the station.