Police Called On Black Man In San Francisco For 'Breaking Into' His Own BusinessViktor Stevenson says he was testing the security system at his gourmet lemonade store last week when four cops approached him.A black man in San Francisco said he was questioned by police last week after a neighbor accused him of “breaking into” his own high-end lemonade stand.
Viktor Stevenson had been testing out his security system Thursday at Gourmonade, which he had opened five days earlier, when four police officers approached him, he told NBC Bay Area.
“I say, ‘Oh, did the security system go off? If it did, my apologies. I am on the phone with the company now,’” Stevenson told the news outlet. That’s when the police told him a neighbor had reported him for “breaking into” the stand, he said.
The cops asked to see his hands, which were in his pockets, and told him to prove it was his store, Stevenson said. When he showed them his store key, they asked to see his ID as well, according to Stevenson.
“Being black at my business minding my business and someone called the police and said I was breaking in,” Stevenson wrote in a Facebook post Thursday. “People die because of this kinda misuse of police resources and racial profiling everyday.”
This isn’t the first time Stevenson has felt threatened for being a black entrepreneur, he told news outlet AJ+. Someone wrote “monkey juice” on the side of his store a few months ago, when he was still setting up the business, he said.
“This isn’t anything new for me, but it’s new for me as a father and as a husband,” a visibly emotional Stevenson told AJ+. “And I don’t think my family or any other family should have to go through this for no reason.”
Neither Stevenson nor a representative for the San Francisco Police Department immediately responded to requests for comment.
Stevenson’s run-in with police last week marks yet another incident in recent months in which a black person was unjustly reported to law enforcement for engaging in an innocuous activity.
Last month, police were called on a black firefighter who was participating in a safety inspection in Oakland, California. In May, a white woman, also in Oakland, called the cops on a black family having a barbecue. The list of apparently racially motivated reports goes on and on.
Such incidents have prompted a fierce debate about racism in the U.S. and the potential danger people of color face when unfairly reported to police, since police interactions with black people in particular are disproportionately likely to end in excessive force or death.