A Sunday morning barbecue along Oakland, California’s Lake Merritt was interrupted after a woman called the police on them for using a charcoal grill. Several witnesses and other family members attending the cookout said it was about race.
A Video recorded by Michelle Snider on April 29 shows a white woman standing in the East Bay’s designated BBQ zone as she tells a group of black family and friends that they cannot hold a BBQ there using a charcoal grill. One of the men was accused of “trespassing” by the irate woman while on the phone with the police, Kenzie Smith told KRON-TV. The woman hurled several racial epithets at them and told them they’d soon be going to prison for their Sunday afternoon actions.
“I hear you have a problem with these gentlemen having a barbecue here at the lake. What’s going on?” asked Snider, who recorded the now-viral video between her husband, Smith, and the unidentified white woman. The woman on the phone then reiterates that the family is not able to use a charcoal grill in that part of the park.
“Are you sure it’s not because you don’t want black people out here,” Snider questions. The woman responds, “It has nothing to do with their race.”
“It seems like a new Jim Crow going on, because for some reason, every time I see this it’s black people being targeted for barbecuing at the lake,” Snider snaps back. “And you’re a perfect example of it right now. It’s two men, sitting out here just chilling. And this whole setup is real clean. They’re not even playing music.”
“It’s not about it being clean,” the woman responds, adamantly referencing that she is currently on hold with Oakland Police over the charcoal situation.
Oakland mayoral candidate Cat Brooks cited that “When you engage law enforcement in these kinds of things you are opening the door for things to go very wrong, the potential for arrests like in Philadelphia with those two black men or worse physical assault or death and I don’t believe in this day and age that white folks don’t know that.”
The woman eventually made her way to Oakland police in a crying hysteria but no citations were issued.