Custom Search 1

Black Airbnb guests targeted after neighbours 'burglar' call

INCIDENT: (Photo credit: Flickr)

CALIFORNIA’S RIALTO Police Department were served on Monday (May 7) with a notification of pending legal action on behalf of Donisha Prendergast, Komi-Oluwa Olafimihan and Kelly Fyffee Marshall.

Last week, the three black women were leaving an Airbnb in Southern California when Rialto police stopped them because a neighbour thought they were stealing from the property.

Kelly Fyffe-Marshall, one of the women who was detained took to Instagram and Facebook to share her ordeal. In the post, she said the women were leaving the Airbnb when seven police cars surrounded them.

"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," she wrote. "They locked down the neighbourhood and had us standing in the street."

STORY TIME: 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 @iamdonisha @komiolaf @ahutchphoto

A post shared by Kelly Fyffe-Marshall (@directedbykells) on

In the post, she wrote that a neighbour across the street called the police because she saw black people putting luggage in a car and assumed that they were stealing.

According to Fyffe-Marshall’s statement, the ‘misunderstanding’ escalated almost instantly when a police sergeant arrived on the scene 20 minutes later, who insisted the women were lying and asked for proof, Fyffe-Marshall wrote.

“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,” she said.

Fyffe-Marshall also said police admitted that the neighbour called police because the women didn't wave to her as they were loading their luggage into the car.

“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, frustrated and sad. This is insanity,” she wrote.

Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.

Facebook Comments