A white lady allegedly called the police on an eight-year-old black girl selling water bottles
On the surface of things, being able to call the police is an absolute must in any modern society worth its salt. If you feel as if you're in danger, someone close to you has gone missing or you find that some of your prized possessions were taken, a simple three-digit dial is all you need to try and keep your sense of reality as neat as possible.
But in recent times, especially in America, that option has been somewhat overused, and some even might say abused. It might be worth calling the cops on a noisy neighbour or what seems to be a public dispute, but when it comes to an eight-year-old girl selling bottles of water, it could be said that dialing 911 might be described as "excessive".
To that end, I wonder what was going on in the mind of Alison Ettel when she allegedly called the cops on a little black girl outside of the AT&T Park Stadium in San Francisco, home of the baseball team the San Francisco Giants. The incident was recorded on video by the girl's mother and cousin (on Instagram and Twitter respectively), and understandably, the footage has gone viral.
In the footage, the child's mother can be heard chastising Ettel as she stands on the phone; crouching down behind a wall when she realises she is being filmed. “This woman don’t want a little girl to sell some water, she’s calling the police on an 8-year-old girl,” says the mother, before telling her: “Don’t hide, the whole world gonna see you, boo.”
But while Ettel can be heard reporting the girl for "illegally selling water without a permit", she later talked to the Huffington Post to give her side of the story. According to her, the phone call was a culmination of several hours of "screaming" from the girl's mother.
"They were screaming about what they were selling. It was literally nonstop. It was every two seconds, ‘Come and buy my water.’ It was continuous and it wasn’t a soft voice, it was screaming. I had been putting up with this for hours, and I just snapped."
While some people have been quick to brand the incident as racially motivated, Ettel denies the incident had anything to do with the little girl's skin tone. “I have no problem with enterprising young women. I want to support that little girl. It was all the mother and just about being quiet,” she said.
Ettel has also receiving threats online for her role in the video, and says she feels "discriminated against". She also says she "pretended" to call the police.
“It was stupid. I completely regret that I handled that so poorly. It was completely stress-related, and I should have never confronted her. That was a mistake, a complete mistake. Please don’t make me sound horrible.”
While you could perhaps understand Alison Ettel's desire for some peace and quiet, she was probably better served by perhaps talking to the mother before bringing the police into matters. Hopefully, she learns her lesson.