Out Of Control Neighborhood Watch Groups Become Vigilantes: Members Getting Kicked Out
As a family, we’ve been going through a number of emotions, as we’ve been trying to process this ugly incident. We’ve taught our son about his rights as an American, so his sadness transitioned to anger about being questioned by the police for doing nothing wrong and only exercising his right to walk down a public street, for being stopped and questioned by the police, without any probable cause. After some huffing and puffing about that, his focused changed.
We’ve also raised him as a Christian, so his anger shifted to empathy and concern for other children, who might not be white, who might actually be Hispanic or Black. What might happen to them if they took a walk in our neighborhood?
“My friends XXX and XXXXX and XXXXX are always coming to visit me — Hell, XXXX and XXXXXX live down the street! Is she going to follow them, call the cops on them, maybe run over someone becasue SHE doesn’t think they BELONG?”
Good questions, son. As parents, Trayvon Martin frankly came to mind.
We don’t know if the Neighborhood Watch team had anything to do with yesterday’s incident, or if the woman was just somebody in the neighborhood taking it upon herself to “protect” the neighborhood. Looking at the website for the Neighborhood Watch, it seems that the incident yesterday was not in line with how the Neighborhood Watch is supposed to operate. My wife was actually one of the people who had their car broken into, and had her wallet stolen, so normally, we might be people who would support of a Neighborhood Watch. If the woman wasn’t someone on the Neighborhood Watch team, we’d appreciate being reassured to that effect.
If she isn’t, we wanted to alert the Neighborhood Watch to be on the lookout for the woman who racially profiled our child, scared him by following him around with her car, and then called the police on him. She was skirting awfully close to Harassment of our minor child under KY 525.070 Harassment (1) A person is guilty of harassment when, with intent to intimidate, harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she: (d) Follows a person in or about a public place or places.
The only thing the woman seems to have gotten right was our child was taking a walk — the rest of the ugly nonsense was the product of her own mindset. We find this to be very disturbing.
Our son will be continuing to walk, jog, fish, play, bike, and generally live his life in this neighborhood. If anything like yesterday’s incident ever happens to him, again, the police have advised us to have him call them, and then, call us. We want to make very sure this never happens to him or any other children or anyone, ever again.
We will be attending the meeting on the XXth as a family to learn more about the Neighborhood Watch effort. If you would like to contact me, my cell number is: xxx-xxxx or my husband at xxx-xxxx.
Thank you for you time and attention,
The reaction to this email was almost immediate. It turns out that the woman was the head of The Neighborhood Watch! My husband received a tear-filled apology call from the woman, who subsequently showed up on our door-step (uninvited) for an in-person apology. That experience was deeply unnerving. Talking a mile a minute, the woman definitely seemed like she had more than one issue, and we were both releaved when she left! Days later, we got an apology card in which she tried to frame the situation like she had called the police, because she had been concerned about our child’s welfare!
In addition to the response from the woman herself, we also recieved reply emails from most of the people on the Neighborhood List expressing their concern and support. Most of them knew our son and were shocked and horrified. All of the emails expressed disgust with the racial profiling.
We checked back on the Neighborhood Watch website, and the day after the email went out, the woman was no longer listed with the group and about half of the former members had quit.
We are still processing this experience. With Zimmerman going on trial, our son has been following the events very closely. We know that this is a common experience for many families, and it has increased our empathy. We also know that the subsequent reactions and actions were due to white priviledge — the police responded and we got answers to our questions. We were pleased with the number of neighbors who rejected the racism demonstrated in the situation.
BUT, the entire episode sits uneasily in our memories and on our hearts. This event actually happened a couple of months, ago, and I am only now writing about it. We are just one neighborhood, and we worry and feel for all those who are targeted for walking while black, brown and even tan…..morehere
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