A white woman called the cops on a black family for barbecuing at a park in Oakland, California.
Kenzie Smith was cooking in the park around Lake Merritt in Oakland, as he has long done with his family, when he was approached by the woman who called the police.
Video recorded by Michelle Snider on April 29 shows a white woman standing in the East Bay's designated BBQ zone as she tells a group of black family and friends that they can not hold a BBQ there using a charcoal grill. The officers took statements for their report, but made no arrests and didn't issue any citations.
"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.
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.
The white woman told the men, "It is illegal to have a charcoal grill in the park here".
Oakland resident Onsayo Abram says he was setting up the barbecue that morning when a random woman began to argue with him over the use of the grill.
Videos show people dancing and enjoying grilled food at the Lake Merritt Park in direct response to the video of the woman "harassing" the family on April 25.
Smith told KRON4 he and his family have had barbecues in that park for decades, and that he often sees people barbecuing there with charcoal grills. "What's going on?" asked Snider while recording.
In fact, according to Abram, just the weekend prior there were people charcoal grilling in the same area. At one point, Snider refers to the woman as "the fucking coal Nazi police", while asking the woman to return a card she took from Snider's hand.
Police eventually arrived, with both parties accusing the other of harassment.
McElhaney hopes that the virality of the incident can be used as a teachable moment, and suggested that "everyone should ask themselves whether or not they should call the police".
"We will do our part to lean into the conversation thoughtfully and [make sure] that the activities of black people aren't being overly policed", she said.
"We have white people who apparently feel threatened by a 12-year-old, Tamir Rice, and he loses his life in 20 seconds", McElhaney said, noting the 2014 police shooting of a black child playing with an Airsoft toy gun.
"I want to encourage people to know when to call the police [and] when to raise a question of regulations with the city council", she wrote in a Facebook post.
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