Police in Ohio are denying that racial profiling played any part after police confronted a 12-year-old black paperboy in the latest scandal over people calling 9-1-1 to report “completely benign” behavior by people of color.
The child’s mother posted a Facebook post on Friday explaining the police response to delivering newspapers on the “first day” of the child’s paper route.
Posting a photos of her son delivering the papers in shorts and a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) T-shirt, the child’s mother, Brandie Sharp, explained what happened.
“First day of paper route and we are pulled over by police,” the mother wrote. “Sad I cant even teach my son the value of working without someone whispering and looking at us out the side of their eye perhaps because we don’t ‘look like a person that belongs in their neighborhood.'”
“Police officer pulls up and ask us questions as if we were intruding in their area,” she explained. “Totally disgusted and disturbed that this kind of behavior still exist.”
Officer Bryan McKean, the spokesperson for the department, denied that racial bias played any role in the incident, during in an interview with NBC 4 News.
Comments on the Facebook post that NBC 4 put on-screen showed the frustration with the police response.
“These rich towns create crazies policies to try to keep people out,” one commenter posted. “Pretty much if you’re not rich stay out.”
“This is the second post I’ve seen about Upper Arlington being racist,” another wrote. “I didn’t know such disgusting people lived there.”
“It’s sad people are threatened by a black 12-year-old boy,” they added.
The police, however, are defending their actions.
“Any time we get a call like that obviously we’re going to respond,” Officer McKean warned. “We’re going to make sure that nothing criminal was going on.”
With the local police department investigating the child delivering newspapers instead of the adult who called 9-1-1, the mother chose to simply apologize and seek a new, safer paper route for her son.
“My apologies Upper Arlington for bringing my 12-year-old African American son into your neighborhood to deliver the paper and make a few dollars on the side,” she wrote.
“No harm intended,” she added.