A Maryland man claims it was his autism, not racism, that drove his decision to call police on two groups of Black women lounging at an apartment complex pool over the weekend.
The bizarre incidents, filmed and posted to social media, occurred at The Edition Apartments in Hyattville, Maryland, according to WUSA9.
On Saturday, Felecia Soso said she and six of her friends were chilling poolside when a man now dubbed “Poolside Nick” approached them about their use of glass bottles, which are against pool rules at the complex.
This man comes out of no where and I only started recording because I thought it was gonna be hilarious.. this man started yelling at my friend so I ran over.. mind you we were NOT LOUD at all.. we had glass bottles but he was NOT AT THE POOL.. he doesn’t work here lol pic.twitter.com/4L7K6k4pCV
— Lil Fort Wash Posh (@SuggSavage) June 22, 2019
Footage posted by Soso shows the man alerting the women that “glassware isn’t allowed at the pool.”
In a Twitter thread, Soso said the man, later identified as Nick Starr-Street, initially complained about their tunes being too loud, so they agreed to turn the music down. Then came his complaints about the glass bottles. In the video clip, Soso’s friend tells Starr-Street she’ll get rid of the bottles, then asks, “What else do I need to do for you to be comfortable?”
“I’m going to report you to the leasing office,” he responds before walking away.
Soso wrote that someone from the leasing office came out to speak with them, and then left. Unsatisfied with the response, Starr-Street called the cops.
Two officers with Hyattsville Police showed up, according to the video, and the women decided to leave the pool after relaying their side of the story.
A similar incident unfolded the following day when Gaëlle Claude shared video of Starr-Street “stalking” her and a friend as he was on the phone with police yet again. Claude tweeted that the man, “literally stalked us…. for damn near a mile,” because they were enjoying wine and taking photos at the pool.
“[He] called the police and all…I cannot make this up smh,” she wrote.
Claude said they were forced to call for security themselves after Starr-Street continued to follow and harass them. At one point, the encounter reportedly turned physical.
In a statement, Hyattsville PD said “the women alleged that the man had followed them from the apartment building to a business. The man stated that he followed them because one of them [had] slapped his phone from his hand during the initial argument.”
Neither party was cited or arrested.
Starr-Street, who’s a resident of the apartment complex, denies his actions were racially-motivated, but instead the result of his autism. He told WUSA 9 that in both incidents he spotted the glass bottles from his unit window and filmed the women as proof that they were violating pool rules.
In the second encounter, Starr-Street claims he only followed Claude and her friend because they tried to flee before officers could arrive. Still, he insisted their race had nothing to do with it.
“I’m autistic. I just see right and wrong,” he told the outlet. “I don’t see race. I don’t see gender. I don’t see color. I don’t see any of that.”
“My sense of right and wrong is 0 or 100,” Starr-Street added. “I don’t care.”
He explained that he’d called security on a third group of women Monday, but this time, they were white. Apartment security, not police, were called in that incident, and Starr-Street admits he didn’t record the women.
“I think that because of the way that my mind works, I don’t always click with other people,” Starr-Street told WUSA9. “So I don’t understand when people get upset over the things that I say or do. To me, that’s just how I feel.”
Ambitious About Autism, a charity for people with autism, noted that it’s common for people who suffer from the disorder to become single-minded. Still, social media critics voiced outrage over the incident and said autism was no excuse for Starr-Street’s nasty behavior.
“I don’t give a f— if this Nick Starr Street guy is Autistic,” a Twitter user wrote. “I know people with autism who know better. There is no excuse. Autism doesn’t prevent one from knowing right or wrong a lot of the time.”
“Autism is not a cause of racism,” another chimed in. “It is not an excuse for it. F— anyone who says so. F—. YOU.”
According to WUSA 9, Starr-Street is an infamous internet troll who has a history of making racially-charged, anti-LGBTQ, and explicit posts on social media. He came under fire in 2016 after tweeting derogatory remarks about a popular drag queen just days after the shooting massacre at Pulse Night Club in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed.
Internet sleuths also claim Starr-Street has a history of posting videos of himself harassing Black people.
Social media gumshoes have since outed his place of employment as DC coffee shop Slipstream, and claim he’s been “suspended.” In a tweet, the coffee shop confirmed Starr-Street is NOT an employee there – but his husband is.
“He (the husband) is currently on leave while we investigate the situation,” Slipstream DC wrote. “Our primary mission is to support the community and be inclusive to all.”
Since his latest antics have gone viral, Starr-Street told WUSA9 he’s received death threats and no longer feels safe living in his apartment. The word “racist” has since been etched into his apartment door.