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A black man taking a stroll in the park with his infant son earlier this month had his pleasant afternoon interrupted when he was stopped by park security — someone had called security on a “suspicious man” walking on the bike path with a baby.
Washington D.C. resident Donald Sherman detailed the May 10 incident in a Facebook post, the Atlanta Black Star reports. Sherman had stayed home from work that day to tend to his young son Caleb, who was running a fever. Not wanting his son to spend the whole day inside, Sherman decided to take Caleb out for a walk at the nearby Kingman Island Park. Sherman says he was flagged down 30 minutes into their walk by a security officer driving a car marked “Special Police.”
“She told me she received a complaint from someone who said there was a ‘suspicious man’ walking on the bike path with a baby. She said that when the complainant was asked to describe my race, she declined,” Sherman wrote.
The caller didn’t identify herself, but Sherman recalled seeing a “white lady on a bike who veered off as Caleb and I walked in her direction” and who, he theorized, “later saw fit to report me to security.”
Sherman wrote that his conversation with the security officer was “pleasant.” She did not attempt to detain him or get the police involved, but instead, eventually sent Sherman on his way after explaining that she “just wanted me to know what happened.” Had the complaint been made to a different security officer or to an actual cop, Sherman conjectured, his story might have ended much differently.
Oxygen.com has reached out to Kingman Island Park for comment.
“This is exactly why we have to talk about white privilege and why Black lives matter. Because at any point, doing anything, anywhere, my safety and my child’s safety could be in jeopardy because of some well-intentioned complaint,” Sherman wrote. “But today is a good day, so we are gonna finish our stroll.”
Sherman’s post received over 2,000 reactions after being up for less than a week, Patch reports. Sherman declined to comment publicly on the incident at this time.
Calling security on a black man pushing a baby in a stroller? It looks like yet another case of policing the everyday activities of people of color — like napping or hanging out in a Starbucks. Such assumptions of danger can often have deadly consequences.