Police have released footage of the an incident that Donisha Prendergast, a filmmaker and the granddaughter of Bob Marley, describes as racial profiling.
On April 30, Prendergast and her friends, two of whom are black women, were leaving an Airbnb rental in Rialto, California when they found themselves surrounded by police. A neighbor had called 911 to report “three black people stealing stuff.” The group was allowed to leave after calling the Airbnb host and having her verify that they were, in fact, renters.
Prendergast and two of her friends sent a letter to the police department on Monday, stating their intent to sue the department. On Tuesday, the department released body cam footage of the controversial incident during a press conference, ABC 7 reports. The police can be seen in the screenshot above discussing the situation with the group.
“Somebody who’s part of neighborhood watch was vigilant, and they reported something that they felt was out of the ordinary. They saw something, they reported something, and the person reporting it is now receiving threats. And our department is receiving, across social media platforms, including the media, ridicule, and, frankly, it's not fair,” said the police chief during Tuesday's press conference.
Since then, the Airbnb host has spoken out in defense of her neighbor, claiming that the entire situation could have been avoided if Prendergast and her friends had been friendlier.
The police department has stood by their handling of the situation.
“We didn’t detain anybody, we didn’t put anyone in handcuffs, we didn't point any weapons at anybody,” Rialto police Lt. Dean Hardin said, according to ABC 7. “We actually allowed them pretty free movement about the scene, so it’s a pretty mild response to a situation.”
(Photo: Screenshot via YouTube)