A white woman called the police on a black real estate investor inspecting a home in her neighborhood — but she was the one facing jail when police arrived, video shows.
Michael Hayes was looking at a house that needed repairs in Memphis, Tennessee, on May 5 when the woman ran outside and demanded to know what he was doing in the area, according to the video.
Hayes says in the video that he explained he was there to inspect the home and showed her his business sign. That still didn’t stop the woman from yelling at him to leave, he said.
Then she called the police, Hayes said.
“So we’re out here at a house now, one of where we’re under contract to pick up on, and for whatever reason, the neighbor has called the police on us,” Hayes said in the video. “... This is what we go through — (a) young black man out here trying to do what’s right and we get the police called on us.”
But when police showed up, they took Hayes’ side after he explained that he had permission to be there. They also chastised the neighbor’s attitude and told her that she would go to jail if she interfered with his work.
Officers took her to task when she said she had friends in the sheriff’s department.
“I don’t care if you’re friends with the president,” an officer said. “You’re going to let him do what he’s going to do."
The woman nastily told Hayes to “hurry up, do it and get out,” according to the video. But police weren’t having that either.
“No, he can take all day,” one of the two officers said. “He can do it all night, it doesn’t matter. He’s in control, he’s got a contract, so that is what it is.”
The Pauls Valley Democrat reports that the woman, identified as Tiffany Albert, says she was made to look like a racist in the video.
"I'm Spanish,” Albert said. “My boyfriend is black. It's nothing racist about it."
Albert told the newspaper that it took a long time for the city to board up the house, where people had been using drugs, and she didn’t want them taken down.
Hayes said at the end of the video that he was happy to be able to go home and see his wife, his son and “another day.”
The Memphis Police Department praised the the way the officers handled the situation in a statement to the New York Post.
“Regarding this specific incident, our officers responded and handled the situation accordingly. We are thankful to Mr. Hayes for recording a positive interaction with MPD officers and for sharing the true image of what our officers represent,” the department said.
It was just the latest incident in which the police were called on a black person doing seemingly normal things, such as moving into their apartment or napping in the common area of their college dorm.