Bob Marley’s granddaughter, Donisha Prendergast says she will sue a southern California police department after she and a group of friends were approached by cop cars and a helicopter while leaving a house that they rented on Airbnb in Rialto, California.
In an Instagram post, Prendergast described the moment as she and her friends were checking out on April 30, according to CBS Los Angeles.
“Got surrounded by the police for being black in a white neighborhood,” the actress, model and poet wrote in the post. “Smh. I’m sad and irritated to see that fear is still the first place police officers go in their pursuit to serve and protect, to the point that protocol supersedes their ability to have discernment.”
The group served the Rialto Police Department with a notice of a pending lawsuit Monday, according to the New York Daily News.
Police said their response was based on a call from a neighbor who reported a group of people she didn’t recognize taking suitcases from the home and loading them into a car.
The host of the Airbnb, Marie Rodriguez, told CBS Los Angeles her neighbor called the police not realizing the home had been rented.
A friend and fellow filmmaker Kells Fyffe-Marshall, posted a video of the incident on Facebook.
In the post, she said they had just checked out when police cars suddenly surrounded them:
“The officers came out of their cars demanding us to put our hands in the air. 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 3 black people packing luggage into their car and assumed we were stealing from the house. She then called the police.”
Fyffe-Marshall said her group tried to joke about the misunderstanding, but things escalated when the officers’ sergeant arrived and said he didn’t know what Airbnb was.
“He insisted that we were lying about it and said we had to prove it,” she wrote. “We showed them the booking confirmations and phoned the landlord… because they didn’t know what she looked like on the other end to confirm it was her.. they detained us ― because they were investigating a felony charge ― for 45 minutes while they figured it out.”
The filmmaker later said the neighbor called the police on them because she and the other members of her group didn’t wave to her.