Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 11:15 a.m. EDT: It turns out that one of the three filmmakers who were recently stopped by a swarm of police cars for checking out of an Airbnb is the granddaughter of the late, great reggae singer and prophet Bob Marley.
The woman in the photo above has been identified by the New York Daily News as 33-year-old Donisha Prendergast, the daughter of Sharon Marley, who is the daughter of Rita Marley and was adopted by Bob Marley. Last week, Prendergast and two of her cohorts, Kells Fyffe Marshall and Komi-Oluwa Olafimihan, were stopped from leaving in their car by at least seven police cars and a helicopter after a white woman in a Rialto, Calif., neighborhood called police to say that there were “three black people stealing stuff.”
The Daily News also reports that the trio plan to sue the Rialto Police Department and that Prendergast promises to release a longer version of the video encounter.
This time the incident involves a group of three black filmmakers who were staying in an Airbnb home rental in the Golden State. A woman named Kells Fyffe-Marshall posted on her Facebook page last week that as she and two other black friends were leaving their rental in Rialto, Calif., they were met with a throng of seven police cars and a helicopter, because why not call the whirlybird in on this?
The kerfuffle went down because a white neighbor took it upon herself to call said law enforcements on the friends, allegedly because they didn’t “wave to her” (did she know them?), and also because three black people taking luggage out of a home automatically means they’re robbing the joint.
Fyffe-Marshall said that the confrontation was humiliating enough but quickly escalated after a “sergeant” arrived (it’s always that guy, right?) and “insisted that [they] were lying,” making them prove that they were lawfully in the right for leaving a house with luggage. Also, the cops had never heard of Airbnb. So the filmmakers had to call the guy who owned the place, who confirmed that all was legitimate; however, they were still detained because the matter involved a “felony charge.”
Here is Fyffe-Marshall’s entire account:
During our time in Cali we have been staying at an Airbnb. The 30th was our second morning and at about 11am we checked out. The four of us packed our bags, locked up the house and left. As you can see 3 of us were Black. About 10 seconds later we were surrounded by 7 cop cars. The officers came out of their cars demanding us to put our hands in the air. They informed us that there was also a helicopter tracking us. They locked down the neighborhood and had us standing in the street. Why? A neighbour across the street saw 3 black people packing luggage into their car and assumed we were stealing from the house. She then called the police.
At first we joked about the misunderstanding and took photos and videos along the way.
About 20 minutes into this misunderstanding it escalated almost instantly. Their Sergeant arrived... he explained they didn’t know what Airbnb was. He insisted that we were lying about it and said we had to prove it. We showed them the booking confirmations and phoned the landlord... because they didn’t know what she looked like on the other end to confirm it was her.. they detained us - because they were investigating a felony charge - for 45 minutes while they figured it out. He made me show my ID and made it clear I was being tagged.
We have been dealing with different emotions and you want to laugh about this but it’s not funny. The trauma is real. I’ve been angry, fustrated and sad. This is insanity.
The cops admit that the woman’s reason for calling the police was because we didn’t WAVE to her as she looked at us putting our luggage into our car from her lawn.
But they pulled over three filmmakers! We documented it all!!!!! #wedidntwave#arighttoberight #racialprofiling #privilege#rightourstories #therevolution#whenyoupulloverfilmmakers @shaunking@amandaseales
OK. White people. Please stop calling the police on black people simply living their lives. It is the height of aggression (although you are using a proxy, which is the apex of passive aggression). Be clear: Black people tend to die when police are called. This is not hyperbole.
And even if said black folks end up miraculously not dead, the experience is often humiliating, emotionally exhausting and disheartening, not to mention traumatic.
You need to really get over yourself and really interrogate why certain people make you “uncomfortable” or “scared” or send your mind automatically to “criminal.” Working against your own knee-jerk prejudices may save a life.
Tell a friend.