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Very Real

‘Don’t Make Me Sound Horrible:’ #PermitPatty Sorry For Calling Cops On Girl Selling Water

Alison Ettel claims that she was bluffing when she threatened to call the police.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

The white woman who went viral for threatening to call the police on a black child selling water outside of her apartment building has since apologized.

San Francisco resident Alison Ettel attracted widespread criticism after the girl’s mother, Erin Austin, posted a video of the incident on Instagram on Saturday. Austin recently lost her job and her daughter Jordan had been trying to raise money for a trip to Disneyland by selling water outside of the family’s apartment building, which is across the street from AT&T Stadium, where the Giants were playing a game that day, USA Today reports.

In Austin’s video, Ettel can be seen speaking on the phone — seemingly to police — and telling Austin that she and her daughter are “illegally selling water without a permit.” At one point, Ettel ducks behind a column, seemingly to avoid being filmed, but is confronted by the camera anyway, as seen in the screenshot above.

The encounter earned Ettel the nickname #PermitPatty on social media.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Ettel claimed that she was only bluffing when it came to calling the police. She’d been “putting up” with the noise for hours, she explained, and “just snapped.”

“They were screaming about what they were selling,” she said. “It was literally nonstop. It was every two seconds, ‘Come and buy my water.’ It was continuous and it wasn’t a soft voice, it was screaming.”

Ettel claimed that the incident had no “racial component,” the Huffington Post reports. Ettel said she had no problem with the little girl; the issue was with the girl’s mother, and “just about being quiet.”

“It was stupid. I completely regret that I handled that so poorly,” she told the Huffington Post. “It was completely stress-related, and I should have never confronted her. That was a mistake, a complete mistake. Please don’t make me sound horrible.”

Ettel’s actions appear to be part of a disturbing trend of white people calling the police on black people over relatively harmless actions.

Earlier “offenses” include waiting at a Starbucks, leaving an Airbnb rental, and falling asleep in a campus common area.

[Photo: Screenshot via Instagram/@ladyesowavy]