Black Airbnb guests mistaken for burglars, stopped by cops

Three black filmmakers checking out of their California Airbnb rental got stopped by a bunch of cops after a neighbor mistook them for burglars.


NSFW    RIALTO, CALIFORNIA — Three black filmmakers are planning to sue a Southern California police department for what they claim was a racially motivated encounter.

The Washington Post reports that Bob Marley's granddaughter Donisha Prendergast and her friends were in town for a reggae festival, and stayed two nights at an airbnb in Rialto.

While checking out and while loading luggage into the car on April 30, a white neighbor spotted them and claimed to have waved to them. When they didn't wave back, she mistook them for burglars and called the cops.

As they were leaving the property seconds later, several police cars and a helicopter arrived and quickly surrounded the group. Kelly Fyffee Marshall, one of the filmmakers, said in an Instagram post that officers ordered them to step out with their hands in the air and later asked them to show ID.

In a statement, police claim they recognized quickly that it wasn't a burglary situation, and dealt with the matter peacefully in just 22 minutes.

That's not quite how the accused people remember it.

Despite showing their booking and calling the landlord, they say a sergeant who didn't know what Airbnb was, and accused them of lying. He then investigated the incident as a possible felony for the next 45 minutes.

The trio documented the whole thing, believing they were racially profiled. According to the San Bernardino County Sun, both the cops and Airbnb owner deny this, with the latter saying the neighbor's call was based on the group's rudeness and lack of good nature, not with their being black.

Guess we should add 'waving at white people' to the list of things black folks should do to not get in trouble.
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