“We did nothing wrong."
An Upper Arlington, Ohio, woman's Facebook post expressing disgust over neighbors calling the police on her 12-year-old black son has garnered more than 1,000 shares and hundreds of comments.
The woman, Brandie Sharp, was delivering newspapers with her two sons when police officers stopped her. She later learned a local resident had called the police after reportedly seeing an individual taking something from a porch.
"First day of paper route and we are pulled over by police," Sharp wrote on Facebook. "Sad I cant even teach my son the value of working without someone whispering and looking at us out the side of their eye perhaps because we DON'T 'look like a person that belongs in their neighborhood.'"
Sharp told local news outlet NBC4 that the incident felt like racial profiling. “I could see if we did something wrong - loud music or whatever,” she said of her encounter with officers. “We did nothing wrong. Why are you talking to us like we did something, like we were throwing bombs or throwing toilet paper on someone’s tree or something. We did nothing wrong.”
An Upper Arlington Police Department spokesperson told NBC4 that the officer's response was not racially motivated.
Prompted by the considerable public outcry to Sharp's post, the Upper Arlington Police Department issued a statement describing "Police response to a report of suspicious activity that turned out to be completely benign."
"The caller reported seeing one of the people approach a home empty-handed but leave holding something," the statement read in part. "The first officer to arrive quickly determined it was a team of people delivering printed advertising materials and reported back that there was no issue."
Sharp's experience is the latest in a string of highly publicized incidents involving black people having the police called on them. Some critics say such occurrences are indicative of an epidemic of racial bias in America.