A Black man was at a grocery store in Solon, Ohio, in suburban Cleveland when a woman called 911 on him because she thought he was acting strangely.
Philip Evans, 35, was at the Solon Giant Eagle supermarket on Sept. 18 when he realized a woman was pointing her phone at him.
“I’m like, ‘Is this lady videoing me?’” Evans asked, recounting the incident to Cleveland 19 News.
The caller told the 911 operator that there was a Black man “looking around” loading groceries into a “brand-new SUV Infinity,” and that he was “going real slow,” and “acting real funny.”
Solon Police said the woman called 911 because she could not see a license plate on the car and thought it might be stolen. The woman followed Evans in her own vehicle as he left the grocery store parking lot.
“I look in my rearview, and I see the same car behind me. I’m like, ‘OK, does this lady have a problem with me?’” Evans said. He said he believes he was racially profiled by the woman because he was a Black man driving a nice car.
Moments later, police pulled Evans over. The officer told him to move his temporary plate, which was in the back window, to a more visible spot. He said the interaction with the officer went smoothly, but that he knows it could have been much worse.
“It’s a scary thought thinking I wasn’t gonna make it home to my kids,” he said.
“I hope you get him,” the woman said before the call with the 911 operator images.
“What does she want them to get me for? She didn’t see me do anything wrong,” Evans said to the station about his thoughts after hearing the 911 call audio.
He said people shouldn’t act on their prejudices or judge people based on the color of their skin.
Earlier this year, New Jersey made it illegal to make a false 911 call based on race, and cities like San Francisco and Grand Rapids, Michigan, have proposed similar laws.