The woman in the video has been identified as Donisha Prendergast, granddaughter of reggae legend Bob Marley. She, and three of her friends involved in the incident plan to sue The Rialto Police Department, USA Today reports.
A group of Black women on vacation was leaving their Airbnb lodgings when they had the police called on them by a neighbor who thought they were stealing from the house in California.
The incident was documented by filmmaker Kells Fyffe-Marshall and posted on her Facebook where it was shared over 32,000 times. The group was surrounded by seven police cars and interrogated by police officers.
“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,” Fyffe-Marshall wrote. “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.”
The filmmaker said she and her friends thought it was just a misunderstanding and found it funny, but the situation escalated when a sergeant arrived and accused them of lying.
“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,” she said.
Police told Fyffe-Marshall that the reason they were called was that the group of women didn’t wave at the neighbor as they were putting the luggage away, according to the post.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.