By now you have probably heard the story of what happened to D’Arreion Toles—a black man living in St. Louis—Friday night when he returned home to the luxury apartment building he lives in.
In case you haven’t, here is a brief rundown:
Toles returned home and was stopped by his neighbor—now identified as Hilary Brooke Mueller—as he attempted to enter his building.
In an incident Toles documented on video and shared on Facebook, Mueller blocked him from entering and demanded he show proof that he lived there. She demanded to know what apartment he lived in.
Toles asked Mueller, “Can you please move ma’am?”
“I can ... do you live here?” she asked in response.
They went back and forth for a few moments with her continuously refusing to move so he could get through the door. She repeatedly demanded to know what unit he lived in, and he informed her that he didn’t have to give her that information.
Mueller told Toles that she was “uncomfortable” with letting him into the building. Toles calmly and patiently explained to her that he does not have to identify himself and continued to ask her to move out of his way so he can get in.
At one point, she said she won’t let him in because he doesn’t have a key fob. He produces his key fob and shows it to her; she still denies him entry.
“If you want to come into my building …” Mueller begins, to which Toles cut her off and told her it’s not her building—she just lives there.
Eventually, Toles moves past her and tells her she is free to call the police or do whatever she wants to do.
You know what Mueller chose to do?
She followed Toles to his apartment. She got on the elevator with him and demanded to know who he is “going up to the fourth floor to see.”
He got off the elevator to make his way to his apartment, and she continued to follow and harass him, demanding to know where he was going and who he was going to see.
When she realized Toles was using a key to enter his own apartment, she slightly changed her tune and said that if he does live there, she would like to introduce herself “as a neighbor.”
Toles told her that she started things off on the wrong foot and informed her that he wants “no dealings” with her.
He goes in his apartment, presumably minds his business, and goes on with his evening.
Heather apparently still called the police on him. She clearly told a compelling story to the cops about the big, bad black man minding his own business in his own apartment after having been harassed for several minutes as he just tried to go home—because according to Toles, they showed up at his door 30 minutes later.
According to the New York Times, Toles said Sunday that the responding officer told him Mueller felt “uncomfortable” about him being in the building. Toles let the officer know he was the tenant of the apartment, and the police left without citing anyone.
Here’s an important thing to note: Not only did Heather call the police, but she actually dialed 911—the emergency line—and told the dispatcher that she wasn’t sure if Toles was a tenant of the building or not.
Why do white people feel so entitled to police black people? Is it because the police enable their bullshit?
Once again, a white person accosted a black person minding their own black-ass business, questioned and otherwise harassed them, then called the police to add further insult to their already aggravating injury.
And as per usual, the police responded to this “cry for help” from the poor white damsel in distress because they just had to be sure that this man—who obviously is in an apartment it’s OK for him to be in—belongs there.
An officer showed up at his door to question him even though he was accused of no crime. Remember what happened the last time a police officer showed up at the apartment of a black man who was minding his own business?
We keep seeing incidents like what happened to Toles on an almost daily basis. It is likely there are many more we don’t see because they aren’t caught on camera. They keep coming up because there is nothing to deter white people from harassing black people and then calling the police to back them up when they don’t get their way.
Why is that OK?
Imagine this particular situation in reverse.
A young white woman comes home to her apartment building and finds her entry blocked by a young black man. He won’t let her in, and he keeps demanding that she tell him what apartment she lives in. He tells her she has to prove to him that she lives there.
When she finally pushes her way past him and begins to make her way to her apartment, he follows her, still verbally harassing her. He follows her right up to her apartment door and only leaves once she’s inside with the door closed behind her.
How do you see that situation playing out once the police arrive? Would they be as accommodating to him, a black man, calling the police for help against a white woman? Would they question her? What if she were first to call the police, how would they respond to him then—even if he said he was “uncomfortable”?
We are living in very scary times. Every little thing black people do is being policed by white people—walking, breathing, talking, swimming, having fun, shopping, driving—everything. We aren’t safe in a coffee shop, at the community pool, at work, on vacation, in the park —nowhere. In the words of Wanda Sykes, white people are watching us—and not in a comical way.
White people are watching us in a way that is going to get someone killed. We are all at risk.
There are many things we could place the blame on, but we know that this is historical. It has been reinvigorated and given an open and aggressive presence through the current political administration.
It is wrapped in white supremacy, upheld and protected by law enforcement.
It is racial terrorism 2.0, and it’s only going to get worse.
In this particular case, even if St. Louis police or the city of St. Louis don’t or won’t take action against Mueller, her employer did.
The Times reports that she was employed by another luxury apartment management company which also happens to be minority-owned, Tribeca-STL. In a statement on their website, the company said they had seen the videos of Mueller’s encounter with Toles and fired her because of it.
“The Tribeca-STL family is a minority-owned company that consists of employees and residents from many racial backgrounds,” the company said. “We are proud of this fact and do not and never will stand for racism or racial profiling at our company.”
Good on Tribeca-STL.
Your move, law enforcement.