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Very Real

Neighbors Call The Cops On A Black Man Moving Into His New Apartment

Neighbors reported a “burglary in progress,” but all Darren Martin, a former White House staffer, was doing was moving into his new apartment.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Former White House staffer Darren Martin received quite the housewarming gift when moving into his new NYC apartment on Friday night.

Martin, who spent several years working for the Obama administration in Washington D.C., was moving into his five-story walk-up on the Upper West Side when a number of NYPD officers arrived. Apparently, neighbors who had seen Martin and a friend moving in had called 911 to report a “burglary in progress,” PIX 11 reports.

Martin, a Bronx native, described the incident during an Instagram Live post, commenting, “Somebody called the cops on me in my own building.”

“I didn’t really think anyone was going to call the cops on me because I mean — I was moving into the building,” he added. Martin was transporting boxes from a U-Haul truck, making it even more surprising — and upsetting — that he was mistaken for a burglar.

“As soon as they pull up, I knew that they were here for me,” he told ABC News.

Police asked for Martin’s identification, he explained, but after asking for permission to check his pockets, Martin realized that he had left his ID upstairs in his apartment. When he asked to go upstairs to retrieve it, police responded that he would be allowed to return to his apartment after they finished their “investigation,” Martin said.

“Listen, if you do nothing wrong then you’re good to go,” one cop reportedly commented.

In Martin’s video, a dispatcher on one of the officer’s 2-way radios could be heard describing the call. Apparently, someone had called to report that “somebody was trying to break in the door” with a “possible weapon,” further described as a “large tool.”

Police took 10 to 15 minutes to complete their investigation before they let Martin leave, he told ABC. He recorded a portion of his encounter with police not only to decrease the likelihood of getting into a “bad situation,” he explained, but also to put a spotlight on the reality of racial profiling.

He does not fault the cops, who he says were just doing their jobs, but his neighbors. That a 911 call “based on assumptions and based on, really, profiling,” was made in the first place is troubling. Martin has yet to receive an apology from whoever called the cops, and has yet to meet any of his neighbors.

He encouraged black people to continue recording instances of racial profiling.

“Tell your story when this happens,” Martin told ABC. “Let other people know that this is a daily occurrence for us.”

In a statement to ABC News, the NYPD confirmed that officers found no evidence of any crimes taking place.

“Officers conducted an investigation, speaking to persons present and determined there was not a burglary at the location,” Lieutenant John Grimpel said. “The job was marked non-crime committed.”

Incidents of racial profiling have made a number of headlines in recent months. Starbucks’ image took a huge hit after employees at a Philadelphia location called the cops on two black who were sitting inside of the coffee shop, waiting for a friend to arrive. The incident sparked widespread outrage and protests.

It’s a problem internationally as well. A tribunal recently ruled in favor of Emile Wickham, a black Toronto resident, who was forced to pay for a meal in advance at a Chinese restaurant. The restaurant was ordered to pay $10k in damages, but will be appealing the decision.

(Photo: Stock image depicting woman in an apartment. By Westend61/Getty Images)