And now, reported to the police for babysitting while being black

Kudos to both the man and the police officer for the way they both handled the situation.

Yes, child abduction is serious, but you’ve got to use some common sense before calling the police.

Your link didn’t work for me. Fixed.


I could get behind profiling for wearing a backwards baseball cap, though.

I read this over the weekend, and while I’m glad that the babysitter and the cop acting like sensible grown ups, grrrr. Why can’t people like this woman get into trouble for filing nuisance reports, just like the idiots who call 911 when McDonalds is out of McNuggets do?

Well, I doubt anybody reporting a possible child abduction by a stranger is ever going to get slapped with a “filing nuisance reports” charge. The suspected misdeed is not in any way unimportant or trivial, even if in this case the suspicion turned out to be nothing more than a steaming pile of racism-tinged paranoid bullshit.

Yeah, I don’t know how you legislate against racism-tinged appalling judgment. Perhaps more publicity like this will help.

The cop had little choice but to conduct a minimal investigation to ensure the kids are fine. All you can do is shake your head and commend the “abductor” and cop for their calm approach when put in such a horrible position.

How about this case, where a white woman refused to allow a black man to enter the apartment building where he lived, demanding that he show her proof that he lived in the building.

He finally pushed his way past her into the building, which he entered using his own key fob. She then followed him into the elevator and rode up to his floor with him, He then proceeded to use his own key to enter his own apartment. And still, she called the police, who came to the building and knocked on his door.

This woman should have been arrested, in my opinion.

Edit: At least, according to the New York Times, she lost her job for her racist performance.

Reporting this shit on the news is exactly the correct thing.

Why is profiling bad? Here’s why.

I agree. There are crimes she can be charged with there. Whether or not the charges would ultimately hold up, she should have been arrested.

I have a tiny defense to offer, although it does not clear her.

Anyone who is aware of security should be aware of tailgating: bypassing a security control on the door by entering when someone else has opened it. It appears to me that this was her original concern; she had opened the door when the man tried to enter. Here social niceties war with proper security practices.

She should have simply continued through and closed the door behind her, leaving him to key himself in.

Of course, subsequent events make clear that her motivation was paranoia, not simply secure practice at a doorway; any doubts she had should have evaporated when she saw him use his key to enter his apartment.

And of course, rather than simply explaining at the entrance that she didn’t want him to enter without keying himself in, she started a Jacques Clouseau-esque interrogation which she had no right to do.

97.5 percent at fault, then, as opposed to 100.

Er… what crimes could she be arrested for?


Watch it again. She was going out. He had already used his key fob to gain entrance.

I am wondering if she was on drugs, or just incredibly stupid. If she thought he was dangerous or there under dubious circumstances why would she get on an elevator alone with him.
The man handled it incredibly well.

Can someone deprive you entrance to your home?

She called 911 on the guy. While it’s not completely clear from the video exactly when she did this, she does not appear to be on her phone at any time during the video exchange, and the New York Times story has the black guy saying that the police turned up his door “about 30 minutes after” the encounter. From all of that, I think it’s reasonable to infer that she called 911 after the exchange, and after seeing that he (a) had a key fob to the front door of the building, and (b) had a key to an apartment within the building.

I’ve heard of people arrested for inappropriate use of 911 before. I believe that this is an inappropriate use of 911, especially given the possible consequences for young black men who have contact with the police in some parts of the United States.

I agree that tailgating can be an issue in apartment buildings, especially large ones where not everyone who lives there knows the identity of all the other tenants. But we don’t know for sure that this is the original reason behind her blocking the entrance. The guy, for obvious reasons, only started recording the incident after the first exchange, so we don’t see the initial contact. You might assume that her initial rationale was to prevent tailgating, but there’s not much in the video or other evidence to sustain that conclusion.

If you want to stop someone from tailgating, you just say (as I’ve said to people in the past), “Look, I don’t want to seem unreasonable, but this is a big building, and I don’t know you. I’m looking out for everyone’s security, so I’m just going to close the door, and if you have the fob, you’ll be able to get in without any trouble.” I’ve said exactly that before. Then, when they use the fob and get into the building, I say something like, “Sorry, I know that might seem silly, but I think a couple of seconds inconvenience is worth it for building security.” If one of my own guests complained to me that another building tenant had refused to let them in the front door, I’d tell them that the other tenant was doing the right thing.

The problem, of course, is that too often racial assumptions enter the equation. My wife and I were staying in a friend’s apartment in Chelsea in New York City some years back, and I stopped a couple of people from tailgating us into the building. They were annoyed and incredulous, and asked, “Do we really look like burglars?” I told them that I don’t know what burglars look like, and asked if it would have been OK for me to stop them if they had been black (instead of white and Asian, respectively). They grumbled under their breath and just kept walking.

It’s good that she’s got you looking out for that two and a half percent.

Agreed that his conduct was exemplary.

The video sequence is still unclear to me, but I absolutely agree that if he had keyed himself in, there goes the 2.5%.

As a general principle, no, but what she did probably does not constitute a criminal act.

It depends on what she said to 911, but the officer’s response, that she “feels uncomfortable,” with him there is probably not criminal. In other words, she didn’t say (that we know of) anything false.

For comparison’s sake, consider a 911 call reporting a man with a gun in a holster, in a state where open carry is legal. Would you imagine that call as a criminal act?


If you watch the beginning of the video he says he already used the key fob to get in. She has no answer for this.

There are two very clear problems with trying to charge people like this:

  1. Prosecuting someone for “misuse of 911” is potentially an immensely hard case to make. I mean, how often are you going to be able to prove malicious or fraudulent intent?


  1. Going after this stuff hard core would create a chilling effect on legitimate use of 911.

Note from the article:

If he would have said yes then that conversation would have verified that Mr. Lewis was a babysitter–and she wouldn’t have called the police.