Police in California Release Bodycam Footage After Black Airbnb Guests Threaten to Sue, Allege Racial Profiling

Police in Rialto,  CA, have released bodycam footage of an incident sparked when a neighbor called the police on black Airbnb customers and reported a robbery in progress.

ABC News reports:

The Rialto Police Department on Tuesday released the video after three black guests threatened to sue, claiming the department had overreacted when a 911 caller wrongly reported a burglary at their Airbnb rental April 30.

The department pushed back, saying its officers acted “respectfully, honestly and professionally” throughout the entire encounter with the group, which included Donisha Prendergast, whom they said identified herself as the granddaughter of reggae music legend Bob Marley.

“The videos speak for themselves,” Rialto’s interim police chief, Mark Kling, said at a news conference Tuesday. “Our officers handled the situation with professionalism, dignity and respect.”

The story gained national attention when filmmaker Kells Fyffe-Marshall, one of the Airbnb renters, posted a Facebook video showing a part of the group’s interaction the officers.

“We were surrounded by 7 cop cars. The officers came out of their cars demanding us to put our hands in the air,” Fyffe-Marshall wrote in the post. “They informed us that there was also a helicopter tracking us. They locked down the neighborhood and had us standing in the street. Why? A neighbor across the street saw three black people packing luggage into their car and assumed we were stealing from the house.”

–Joshua James