Police Called On A Family For BBQing While Black

A woman called police on a black family barbecuing at Lake Merritt Park in Oakland, echoing recent incidents that involved police being called on black people engaging in seemingly normal, everyday activity.

After black artists were accused of robbing a home as they left an Airbnb with their luggage, and two young entrepreneurs were accused of trespassing while seated in a Starbucks, Oakland folks who heard about the Lake Merritt “BBQing-While-Black” incident responded in force – with a massive over-the-top cookout less than 24 hours later in the same exact spot.

On Thursday, Michelle Snider captured video of another white woman berating the barbecuing family and threatening to call the police on them for allegedly barbecuing with a charcoal grill in a non-designated area. Snider can be heard saying, “This is exactly what is the problem with Oakland today. This lady wants to sit here and call the police on them for having a barbecue at the lake as if this is not normal.”

The woman reportedly waited for two hours until the police arrived. “I reported over two hours ago some people were illegally grilling in the park with a charcoal grill where they’re not supposed to,” she said. “I was waiting there for a response because I was told they were coming. After two hours, I just called the non-emergency line, and in the interim these people came up and started harassing me, physically pushing me.”

Well, Oakland locals weren’t about to take this sitting down. Instead, hundreds gathered there the next day for an old-fashioned cookout, complete with kids frolicking, R&B classics like BBD’s “Poison” and, of course, a big ol’ electric slide.

Below, Snider explains what led up to her filming the white woman in the caption of her YouTube post:

Oakland, Ca – At around 11:20 AM a white woman approached a black man named Deacon for having a BBQ grill at Lake Merritt today. She told him he could not BBQ there and called the police. She would not leave Deacon alone. A young black woman was walking by overheard how the white woman was harassing him telling him he can not be there, she stopped and asked the woman to leave her alone. The white woman became aggressive with the woman. She started filming the woman’s aggressive behavior and has told us it’s up on Facebook (probably a live stream). Shortly after that Deacon’s friend Kenzie arrived. According to Kenzie, the woman said “Oh another nigger.” She proceeded to tell all three of the people at the BBQ table that she owned the park, and they are not allowed there. She also said them they were going to jail. Kenzie’s wife (me) was up the street finishing brunch at Lakeshore Ave. He texted me a picture of the white woman and said: “If I go to jail this who did it to me.” So I walked over to the scene, and that’s where the video starts. I arrived 12:50 pm. The police did not stop the BBQ. They spoke with Deacon about an hour later and said they were BBQ-ing in a permitted zone.

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