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Excerpted from: Chan Tov McNamarah, White Caller Crime: Racialized Police Communication and Existing While Black, 24 Michigan Journal of Race and Law 335 (Spring, 2019) (401 Footnotes) (Full Document)


policecommunicationsBelow is a list of 92 media-reported or social media viral instances of racialized police communication which took place during 2018.


January 3, 2018--Brooklyn, New York man Ben Faulding is confronted by two gun-wielding police officers when a store clerk calls the police, falsely believing he is shoplifting.


February 1, 2018--St. Louis woman Alexis Brison has the police called on her when she is falsely accused of leaving a restaurant without paying a bill the night before. Employees mistake Brison for another Black woman.

February 24, 2018--Yale student Reneson Jean-Louis has the police called on him when he asks a fellow student for directions. The student reports Jean-Louis as a "suspicious character."


March 9, 2018--Ohio Councilman Kevin Conwell is stopped by Case Western Reserve University police when a student reports him for walking across campus.


April 2018--Texas woman Q Moses has the police called on her while shopping at a Shenandoah, Texas OshKosh store when employees falsely believe that she is shoplifting. One of the responding officers tells Moses, "Ma'am, because you're a Black woman with a large bag, that's probably the reason for the premature call."

April 12, 2018--Philadelphia men Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson are arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks when waiting for a colleague.

April 12, 2018--York, Pennsylvania women have the police called on them for not golfing fast enough. The situation is christened 'Golfing While Black' on social media.

April 12, 2018--New Jersey men have the police called on them at an L.A. Fitness when employees wrongfully believe they are not paying members.

April 22, 2018--Saraland, Alabama woman Chikesia Clemons is arrested inside a Waffle House when the police are called because she requests plastic cutlery. During her arrest, police throw Clemons to the ground, leading to public outrage.

April 26, 2018--Amber Phillips has the police called on her and is removed from an American Airlines flight when her arm touches that of a White passenger seated next to her. The passenger falsely tells an attendant that Phillips assaulted her and law enforcement is summoned. Phillip's tweets "The cops were called on me for flying while fat & Black."

April 27, 2018--Former Obama White House official Darren Martin has the police called on him as he is moving into his apartment in Manhattan.

April 29, 2018--A California family have the police called on them as they are barbecuing at Lake Merritt. The caller demands the family not use coal in the public barbeque grills. The scenario is labelled 'Barbecuing While Black.'

April 30, 2018--A group of Black individuals are detained when leaving an Airbnb in Rialto, California when a neighbor calls the police on them. Apparently, the neighbor believed they were burglars. The situation is dubbed 'Airbnb While Black.'


May 2, 2018--Yale student Lolade Siyonbola has the police called on her for napping in a common room. The situation is christened 'Napping While Black.'

May 2, 2018--Florida couple have guns pointed at them when Waffle House employees call the police over a disputed bill.

May 2, 2018--Memphis real estate investor Michael Hayes has the police called on him as he visits one of his own properties.

May 2, 2018--D.C. lawyer Donald Sherman has Kingman Island 'Special Police' called on him as he is walking with his infant son. The reporter described him as a "suspicious man with a baby."

May 3, 2018--St. Louis teenagers have the police called on them when Nordstrom employees falsely accuse them of shoplifting.

May 4, 2018--New York attorney Nancy Bedford and her daughter are falsely accused of shoplifting in a Brooklyn vintage consignment store. When the women protest the accusation, an employee calls the police declaring she "feared for her safety."

May 5, 2018--North Carolina man Anthony Wall has the police called on him when he gets into a disagreement with Waffle House employees.

May 7, 2018--St. Louis couple Kellen Hill and his girlfriend have the police called on them when they are denied a money order at a local supermarket. A clerk reported told the couple he refused to give them a money order "because people like you are doing fraud." The employee calls the police to have the couple removed when they protest his comments.

May 14, 2018--Members of the historically Black sorority Sigma Gamma Rho are confronted by the police while doing community service on Interstate 83. Facts differ: the sorority members allege that the police claims to have been called on them, but in a follow-up statement the police claim to not have been. The situation is dubbed 'Community Service While Black.'

May 15, 2018--California man Ike Iloputaife is reported to the police as he walks the dogs in his neighborhood. The woman who reports him sends his photographs to the police and Iloputaife is falsely accused of burglary.

May 15, 2018--Alabama man Brian Spurlock has the police called on him when Hobby Lobby employees believe he resembles an unrelated Black shoplifter.

May 20, 2018--California firefighter Kevin Moore is reported to the police as he conducts fire inspections in the mostly White Montclair neighborhood.

May 23, 2018--Maryland couple Barbara and Bahri Wallace have the police called on them as they are shopping at Costco. The manager calls the police to report a "robbery in progress," after falsely believing the Wallaces are shoplifting. On November 2, 2018 the Wallaces file a civil suit alleging racial discrimination and false imprisonment.

May 30, 2018--Long Beach, California man Ezekiel Phillips has the police called as he is listening to a bikram yoga CD in his car. A woman sees Phillips, tells him he should not be in the neighborhood and demands he leave. When he does not, she calls the police and falsely tells them that she witnessed Phillip attack someone.


June 2, 2018--South Carolina woman Javetta Campbell is falsely accused of shoplifting in a Mount Pleasant Ulta Beauty store. The store sends her photograph to law enforcement, who issue a 'shoplifting suspects' release with her photo.

June 4, 2018--Oklahoma City woman Ja'Maya Burleson has the police called on her when she refuses to listen to her White neighbor's problems. The caller is labelled 'Depressed Debbie' on social media.

June 4, 2018--Tennessee woman Jovita Jones Cage is handcuffed in a Victoria's Secret branch in Collierville when an employee falsely accuses her of shoplifting. Cage, who was returning a purchase, described the event as "mortifying."

June 4, 2018--A Black man is threatened with police intervention while eating ice cream in his car. A social media post about the interaction was viewed over 1 million times, and shared over 33,000 times.

June 12, 2018--Two Miramir Florida women have the police summoned on them when shopping in Walgreens. Employees falsely accused them of shoplifting, and the women have their bags searched by the officers.

June 18, 2018--Atlanta physician Dr. Nnenna Aguocha has the police called on her as she tries to enter her own gated community. Believing the doctor does not live there, another property owner calls the police on her for trespassing.

June 19, 2018--Members of the historically African American sorority Delta Sigma Theta have the police called on them at a restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio when employees falsely believe they will not pay their bill.

June 21, 2018--Middletown, New York woman Idella Browning is falsely accused of shoplifting, and a Walgreens loss-prevention officer publicly searches her bag and accuses her of stealing. When no merchandise is found, Browning protests her treatment and humiliation. At that point, the assistant manager calls the police for Browning's disturbance.

June 22, 2018--A Philadelphia family has the police called on them when they try to get a refund on their movie tickets. The parents leave the theater to speak to a manager, who refunds their money. When they attempt to return to the theater to retrieve their children, theater staff blocks their entry and calls the police.

June 23, 2018--An Ohio child has the police called on him when he accidentally mows the wrong lawn.

June 23, 2018--A San Francisco child has the police called on her while she is selling bottled water. The caller reports the child for "illegally selling water without a permit." The caller is dubbed 'Permit Patty' on social media.

June 24, 2018--Morehouse College student Eli Sabur has the police called on him as he is canvassing in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The situation is christened 'Campaigning While Black.'

June 25, 2018--Fresno men Dorian Johnson and his uncle are forced to lie on the ground at gun point when the police are called about a "robbery in progress." The men were in the process of lawfully purchasing a cell phone.

June 26, 2018--Pastor Michael Briese abruptly stops a funeral at Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Charlotte Hall, Maryland. When an attendee accidentally knocks over the church's chalice, the pastor calls the police and orders the mainly-African American attendees out of the church. The situation is labelled 'Mourning While Black' on social media.


July 1, 2018--A Buckhead, Atlanta woman has the police called on her for smoking outside in a parking lot. A White neighbor demands she stop smoking, and when she refuses, law enforcement is contacted. The neighbor is dubbed 'Newport Nancy' on social media.

July 2, 2018--A Black family has the police called on them at a Subway in South Georgia. An employee reports them for "going back and forth to the bathrooms" and "possibly putting soda in water cups." The officer apologizes to the family, explaining that the employee was been suspicious because she had been robbed before.

July 3, 2018--Former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth has the police called on her when her Uber driver refuses to take her to her drop-off location. When she complains, the Uber driver calls the police and falsely states Welteroth physically attacked him.

July 3, 2018--Racine, Wisconsin food truck owner Yogi Edwards has the police called on her twice when bystanders complain that her truck is too loud. Twice law enforcement arrives, check her permits, and leave.

July 4, 2018--North Carolina woman has the police called on her and her family as they visit a community pool. The pool manager demands the woman show proof of residency, and then calls law enforcement. The pool manager is given the moniker 'ID Adam' on social media.

July 4, 2018--Memphis, Tennessee woman Camry Porter and her boyfriend have the police called on them by the pool manager for Porter's boyfriend wearing socks in the community pool.

July 6, 2018--An Ohio child has the police called on him as he delivers newspapers. It was the first day of his paper route in an Upper Arlington community, and a resident reports him as "suspicious." The situation is labelled 'Summer Jobbing While Black' on social media.

July 6, 2018--Manager of an Indianapolis apartment complex calls an off-duty police officer after asking Shayne Holland, a Black resident to leave the pool area. The manager is christened 'Swimming Sheriff Susie' on social media.

July 8, 2018--Mountain View, California woman Erika Martin has the police called on her while she is giving food to a homeless man outside of a Safeway. Employees falsely believe that she stole from the store.

July 11, 2018--Bay Area woman Zhalisa Clarke has the police called on her when a Raley's grocery store employee falsely believes she is shoplifting. Police arrive and check Clarke's bags and car for stolen goods. None are found.

July 13, 2018--Chicago woman Camilla Hudson has the police called on her as she tries to use a coupon at a CVS pharmacy. The employees mistakenly believe that the coupon is fraudulent. The employee is labeled 'Coupon Carl' on social media.

July 16, 2018--Police are called to a pickup basketball game in Sterling, Virginia when a Black player is accused of fouling another player too hard.

July 17, 2018--San Francisco business owner Viktor Stevenson, has the police called on him when a bystander accuses him of breaking into his own business. Stevenson was checking the store's alarm system when he is reported as an attempted burglar. Even after showing his store key, the four responding officers do not leave until he shows them his ID.

July 18, 2018--New York woman Madonna Wilburn has the police called on her as she tries to use multiple coupons at a Dollar General store. When Wilburn attempts to use the coupons, a White manager accuses her of "trying to take advantage of the system." The situation is dubbed 'Couponing While Black' on social media.

July 18, 2018--Smith College student Omumou Kanoute has police called on her as she eats lunch in an empty classroom.


August 7, 2018--Wisconsin county supervisor Shelia Stubbs has police called on her when she is campaigning. The caller wrongfully accuses Stubbs of being a drug dealer.

August 9, 2018--New York state senator Jesse Hamilton has the police called on him while he passes out campaign fliers on a public subway stop. The caller, apparently angered by Hamilton's politics, demands that he stop campaigning. When he refuses, she calls the police.

August 9, 2018--North Carolina woman Sherell Bates has police called on her in a Staples store while she is shopping for school supplies for her children. Bates, who was eight-months pregnant at the time, is falsely accused of shoplifting by employees. Bates is forced to expose her stomach to prove she is not stealing.

August 9, 2018--Seattle man Reymon Leavell is the victim of a 'swatting' call, as he listens to music in a public library. Leavell, who is developmentally delayed, is handcuffed when a caller fraudulently claims to be suicidal. Police arrive, assume Leavell is the caller, and handcuff him. It is not clear whether the caller intended Leavell to be a victim.

August 9, 2018--A Black Delta Airlines passenger named Arlene (who declined to give her last name) has the police called on her when she attempts to file a claim for her damaged luggage at Delta's Boston Logan International Airport baggage service office. When the customer requests the manager and the employee refuses, the employee calls the police claiming the customer "won't leave the office." The employee is dubbed 'Baggage-claim Becky' on social media.

August 10, 2018--An Arizona teenager has the police called on him for wearing a bandana to school.

August 14, 2018--Milwaukee, Wisconsin man Corvontae Davis, has the police called on him while trying to get change for a parking meter from his car. A bystander believes he is breaking into the car and tells the police a suspicious person was "rummaging through a vehicle."

August 24, 2018--20-year-old Jermayne Smith is held at gun point while a civilian calls the police. Smith was crossing the street when the civilian mistakenly believes he is breaking into his car. He demands Smith get on the ground and threatens him with a firearm until the police arrive. When they do, they handcuff Smith but subsequently let him go claiming there was a "misunderstanding." Despite demands for information, the police department has yet to follow up on the ordeal.


September 15, 2018--University of Massachusetts employee Reginald Andrade has the police summoned on him for walking to work when someone reports an "agitated Black male" walking across campus.

September 19, 2018--An unnamed Black teenager has the police called on him when a White couple bumped into him and he confronts them in Bay Area, California. They refuse to apologize, assaulted the youth, and thereafter summon the police.


October 7, 2018--Marietta, Georgia man Corey Lewis has the police called on him while he is babysitting two White children, when a bystander believes him to have kidnapped them. The responding officer speaks to the children, and contacts their parents who are stunned by the situation. Lewis' Facebook Live broadcasts of the situation quickly goes viral and is dubbed 'Babysitting While Black.'

October 10, 2018--Washington, D.C. man Juan-Pablo Gonzalez, a Black student at the Catholic University of America, has the police called on him as he tries to gain entrance to the university's law library. Seven officers respond and escort Gonzalez from the library. The situation is labeled 'Studying While Black' online.

October 12, 2018--Brooklyn, New York child Jeremiah Harvey has the police called on him by Teresa Klein, who falsely accuses him of sexual assault. Klein is dubbed 'Cornerstore Caroline' on social media.

October 12, 2018--St. Louis man D'Arreion Toles has the police called on him by a building manager who does not believe he lives in the condominium complex. The manager demands to see Toles' key fob and then blocks his entrance into the building. She follows Toles to his apartment and calls the police. She is labeled 'Key-fob Kelly,' and a Facebook video of the interaction is watched over 4 million times.

October 14, 2018--An unnamed Florida father has the police called on him when he cheers on his son at a soccer game. A bystander reprimands the father for harassing the referee, when in actuality he is speaking to his son. The father offers to leave the game, but the bystander calls the police claiming she "fear [s] for herself and the children's safety," and "she didn't know what the father was capable of." The incident goes viral when another parent recording the situation, posts it on Facebook and labels it 'Soccer While Black.'

October 14, 2018--North Carolina anti-violence marchers have the police called when they stop at a gas station. As the group stops at the station to get drinks, the store manager calls the police, telling dispatchers "it's like a riot out here." She further claims the group is "destroying the outside of the store." Based on video footage the group was simply waiting outside the station. They leave before police arrive. The caller is dubbed 'Gas Station Gail' on social media.

October 15, 2018--Portland, Maine student activist Hamdia Ahmed has the police called on her when she and her family are in a Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru. When employees hear the family speaking Somali, they demand the would-be patrons leave, and then threaten to call the police. When Ahmed enters the store to demand an apology, the employees summon the police who thereafter issue the family a no-trespass notice.

October 25, 2018--Richmond, Virginia VCU Arts professor Caitlin Cherry has campus police called on her by another professor while she eats breakfast in a classroom. When authorities arrive they demand to see her identification.

October 28, 2018--Black canvasser Dr. Amanda Kemp has the police called on her as she is campaigning in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A resident of the community demands Kemp leave, and when she does not, the resident contacts the police.

October 28, 2018--Black couple Rashsaan Muhammad and Mattie Khan have the police called on them when they are accused of parking on a cross walk. The caller is dubbed 'Crosswalk Cathy.'

October 29, 2018--Black canvasser Keilon Hill is arrested while he is handing out flyers in West Des Moines, Iowa. A caller reports Hill as a "suspicious person," and Hill is arrested on a charge of harassment of a public official when he refuses to identify himself to the responding officer.


November 7, 2018--Fairfax, Virginia woman Tirza Wilbon White is kicked out of a Dunkin' Donuts and has the police called on her by a Dunkin' Donuts employee for using the store's wireless internet without making a purchase.

November 9, 2018--Tennessee man Davon Eddington has the police called on him by a neighbor for suspected domestic violence when he states: "I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one"--lyrics from Rapper Jay-Z's '99 Problems.' The situation is dubbed 'Rapping While Black.'

November 9, 2018--Houston Texas graduate student Ashly Horace has the police called on her when she tries to visit West University library children's story time as a part of her studies.

November 12, 2018--A Black student at University of Texas at San Antonio has the police called on her for propping her feet up during class.

November 14, 2018--A Los Angeles woman has the police called on her when she accidentally exits a parking lot using the wrong lane.

November 15, 2018--Washington man Byron Tyrone Ragland has the police called on him while he supervises a custody visit in a frozen-yogurt shop. Store employees feel uncomfortable that Ragland is waiting in the store, and call the store owner to report him. The owner then calls the police. Later reports reveal the owner is not White, but Asian-American. The race of the reporting employees is unknown.

November 17, 2018--A Warwick, Rhode Island man has the police called on him for sitting in his car waiting on a public street. When he refuses to identify himself to a neighbor, the neighbor calls the police to report a suspicious "colored person" sitting in front of his home. The call and police response are broadcast nationally on the program LivePD.

November 24, 2018--Frisco man Ro Lockett is confronted by police when a Finish Line employee falsely accuses him of shoplifting. Lockett is handcuffed and searched in front of his children and other mall shoppers.

November 26, 2018--Concord woman Dari Flowers is delivering packages for Amazon, when a White woman accuses her of stealing and calls the police. A Facebook post about the incident is viewed more than 16,000 times.


December 5, 2018--Tennessee home-care nurse Stephanie Martin has the police called on her when someone reports a suspicious person going door-to-door. Martin, who was visiting a patient for the first time, got lost and knocked on the wrong door before finding her client's home.

December 7, 2018--New York woman Jazmine Headley is thrown to the ground and has her toddler son pulled from her arms in a SNAP benefits office. Headley was sitting on the floor because there were no more free seats, and refused to stand when instructed to by a security guard. Police were subsequently called.

December 15, 2018--Farmington, Illinois man Mitchell Dutz tells police that James T. Jackson and two other Black men kidnapped his child. In response, police launch a manhunt and issue an Amber Alert. Dutz's claim was fictional, and he fabricated the story when Jackson allegedly robbed him during a drug deal.

December 17, 2018--Paul McCowns has the police called on him while trying to cash a check at a Huntington Bank branch in Cleveland, Ohio. The bank falsely accuses McCowns of attempting to cash a fraudulent check. The situation is dubbed 'Banking While Black.'

December 22, 2018--Three Black boys between the ages of nine and twelve are detained, searched, and interrogated by seven police officers in Southeast DC, when a man falsely accuses them of threatening him with a knife. The police arrive and pat down the children, but find no weapons.

December 23, 2018--Jermaine Massey, a guest at a Portland, Oregon hotel has the police called on him as he is sitting in the lobby making a call to his mother. A security guard who does not believe he is a guest approaches Massey and asked if he was a guest and what his room number was. Despite showing the guard his room key, security summons the police. The security guard is dubbed 'Hotel Earl' on social media, and the situation is labeled 'Calling Your Mother While Black.'


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