The Oakland, Calf. woman playfully known as “BBQ Becky” was evaluated for an involuntary psychiatric hold after calling the police to report a group of Black friends barbecuing in a local park, police reports obtained by The Blast revealed.
Jennifer Schulte quickly became an internet meme after video surfaced of her dialing police on park-goer Kenzie Smith and his friends for grilling in an area of Lake Merritt Park that doesn’t allow charcoal grills. The roughly two-hour clip was filmed by Smith’s wife, Michelle Snider, who confronted Schulte for racially targeting her husband and his friends.
“…This is exactly what is the problem with Oakland today,” Snider said in the video earlier this month. “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.”
According to the Oakland PD incident report, Schulte told authorities one of the “suspects” was following and harassing her. Before officers arrived, a 911 dispatcher noted that Schulte “sounded 5150” — another way of saying she may need to undergo an involuntary psychiatric hold.
In the report, Shulte also claimed Snider pushed her during their dispute and asked police to remove Snider and her entire party from the park. Snider’s video of the incident showed Schulte snatch a piece of paper from her hand and refuse to give it back, after which Snider followed her across the street to the convenience store where they were met by police.
Snider’s video was still rolling by this time. Officers evaluated Schulte for a 5150 hold but ultimately determined she didn’t fit the criteria of someone who should be placed under a psychiatric hold.
Cops later made contact with the group of barbecuers, caught them up on what had happened and informed them of the applicable violation for using charcoal in that area. The park-goers agreed to pack up their things and head home, after which the incident was closed, according to the police report.
This past Saturday, hundreds of folks turned out for a community-organized “BBQing While Black” event in response to Schulte’s “well-meaning” antics.