Three Airbnb Guests Who Are Black Questioned by Law Enforcement

Three blacks are planning to sue a police department in Southern California over what they claim was an excessive response to a 911 call they said was racially motivated.  However, police said that the officers’ response was brief, polite and nothing from the ordinary.

On Monday, the Rialto Police Department told the media they received a notice of legal action from the three, who had been leaving April 30 from a rental of Airbnb carrying their luggage when a neighbor made a call to police to report that a burglary was in progress.

The encounter is the most recent example of friction between minorities and law enforcement because of a 911 call. In April, two black males were arrested in Philadelphia after an employee with Starbucks called saying that the men had not purchased anything.

In addition, last month two brothers, who are Native American, were on a college tour and police aggressively questioned them after a parent had called and reported being uneasy in their presence.

In Pennsylvania, a co-owner of a golf cub and his father made a call to police on five women who were African-Americans saying that they were playing golf too slowly.

An author, former prosecutor and law professor said that African Americans must prove their innocence regardless of how mundane of an activity they are taking part in.

One of the renters with Airbnb, wrote on a social media site that seven police cars surrounded them and they were told to raise their hands. Police said they had been tracked by a helicopter and an officer accused the three of lying.

In her social media post, the woman said it would be nice to laugh about it but it is not funny. Police told the three that a woman had called 911 because they had not waved at her as she looked at them packing their vehicle.

However, police said through a news release that officers had been polite during the interaction that lasted for 22 minutes. The caller said she did not recognize the people or the vehicle they had, said police.

A police officer in Rialto said that it was standard to use a helicopter to monitor a scene when a residential burglary is in progress in case a suspect leaves prior to police on the ground arriving.

He added that no one was detained, no one was put into handcuffs and police guns were not pointed at anyone. The three were allowed fairly free movement at the scene making their response quite mild, said officers.