A Black man in Oakland was wrongfully accused on Tuesday of stealing a truck that belonged to him. Nicole Hirsch, the wife of the victim, says that he was seated in his truck at 11:30 am at 35th and MLK when he was approached by a couple.
“He described it like they were looking in his truck bed and he rolled down his window and said to them ‘Can I help you with something?’ and they said to him something to the effect of ‘Our truck was stolen,’” Hirsch told local ABC 7 reporters.
Nicole’s husband, who works as a landscaper, had his tools in the bed of the truck, easily visible to the couple who stood firm in their stance despite the obvious. The victim even went as far as to show the couple a picture taken of himself and the same truck four years ago, and yet, they remained unconvinced. Minutes later, the Oakland police surrounded the area, and the man ended up in handcuffs.
“He put his hands up is my understanding and followed their orders,” Hirsch said. “He told me that it’s embarrassing to be in handcuffs on the street with many cop cars around. It’s humiliating. It’s infuriating.”
Hirsch told ABC 7 that her husband spent a great deal of time explaining that the truck in question was actually his.
“They put him in handcuffs before he was even asked for his license or registration,” she said. She further expressed that she believes beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was treated this way because he’s Black.
“I definitely do,” she said. “Just like this couple that is claiming this is our truck. He is also a person and why is his voice and his opinion not given the same weight and credence that the couple was given.”
In a statement made by the OPD, the stolen vehicle was later reported as found.
“When officers arrived, they located a vehicle that matched the year, make, model and color of the victim’s vehicle and detained the occupant, pending further investigation. Officers later determined that the vehicle in question was registered to the individual who was detained.”
Nicole Hirsch works as a sociologist focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion research, and says that incidents like this are exactly why she’s invested in the field. She and her husband are also exploring legal options.