UPDATE: The Rialto Police Department has released bodycam footage from the incident involving Donisha Prendergast. Three videos of bodycam footage were shown at a press conference to counter claims that Prendergast and two other friends — who are also black — were racially profiled.
The owner of the Airbnb the women stayed at was also present and said the situation could have been avoided had her guests used some common courtesy.
“If the kids had simply smiled at (my neighbor) and waved back and acknowledged her and said, ‘We’re just Airbnb guests checking out,’ none of this would have ever happened,” she said. “But instead, they were rude, unkind, not polite.”
Read the original story below and view the video here.
Three black women, one of whom is Bob Marley‘s granddaughter, were recently accused of burgling a home that they were actually Airbnb guests at.
Donisha Prendergast, a 33-year-old filmmaker as well as the descendant of the iconic reggae artist, and two of her friends — Kells Fyffe-Marshall and Komi-Oluwa Olafimihan — were confused for thieves as they were getting ready to leave their Airbnb in Rialto, California. According to a report from CBS News, the trio was packing their luggage when a neighbor called the cops on them, reportedly telling officers that she saw “three black people stealing stuff.” The neighbor had also reportedly waved at the group but they didn’t acknowledge her back, which contributed to her calling the police. Both Prendergast and Fyffe-Marshall posted a video of the incident on their social media.
STORY TIME: During our time in Cali we have been staying at an Airbnb. The 30th was our second morning and at about 11am we checked out. The four of us packed our bags, locked up the house and left. As you can see 3 of us were Black. About 10 seconds later we were surrounded by 7 cop cars. The officers came out of their cars demanding us to put our hands in the air. They informed us that there was also a helicopter tracking us. They locked down the neighborhood and had us standing in the street. Why? A neighbour across the street saw 3 black people packing luggage into their car and assumed we were stealing from the house. She then called the police. At first we joked about the misunderstanding and took photos and videos along the way. About 20 minutes into this misunderstanding it escalated almost instantly. Their Sergeant arrived… he explained they didn’t know what Airbnb was. He insisted that we were lying about it and said we had to prove it. We showed them the booking confirmations and phoned the landlord… because they didn’t know what she looked like on the other end to confirm it was her.. they detained us – because they were investigating a felony charge – for 45 minutes while they figured it out. We have been dealing with different emotions and you want to laugh about this but it’s not funny. The trauma is real. I've been angry, fustrated and sad. I was later detained at the airport. This is insanity.The cops admit that the woman’s reason for calling the police was because we didn’t WAVE to her as she looked at us putting our luggage into our car from her lawn. #wedidntwave #arighttoberight #racialprofiling privilege #rightourstories #therevolution #whenyoupulloverfilmmakers @directedbykells@iamdonisha @komiolaf @ahutchphoto Nisha Rebel Ashlee Hutchinson
Posted by Kells Fyffe-Marshall on Tuesday, May 1, 2018
“We were surrounded by 7 cop cars. The officers came out of their cars demanding us to put our hands in the air,” Fyffe-Marshall wrote in a Facebook post. “They informed us that there was also a helicopter tracking us. They locked down the neighborhood and had us standing in the street.”
The trio served the Rialto Police Department with notice of a pending lawsuit Monday in regards to the incident. However, the department believes responding officers acted professionally.
“It was a very low-key contact,” Captain William Wilson of the Rialto Police Department said. “Nobody had their hands up in the air. There was no guns pointed. Nobody was put on the curb.”
A representative for Prendergast declined to comment further but pledged to release a longer version of the video and details of the pending lawsuit.
Source: CBS News