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A black real estate investor was inspecting a Memphis property when a white neighbor called the police to report his presence in the neighborhood.
The video, which was uploaded to YouTube by Memphis real estate investor Michael Hayes on May 5, shows him waiting by a property he was hired to inspect as police arrive and ask him a series of questions.
The nine-minute video begins with Hayes explaining that he had been removing a board from the door of the vacant house when a woman next door began shouting and telling him to leave. Hayes, who owns Hayes Investment Deals LLC, works on contracts to find wholesalers for unused properties in the Memphis area.
“We got our paperwork in order, we got our contract … ” Hayes said in the video. “So I’m really not sure what she wants me to do other than leave the neighborhood.”
The video, which Hayes started filming on his phone after the neighbor said she called the police, comes on the heels of a rash of racial profiling incidents, including the arrest of a black Yale student who’d fallen asleep while studying for finals and five black women who were questioned by authorities after white golfers called to complain about their slow pace on the links. Perhaps most prominently, police arrested two black men last month at a Starbucks in Philadelphia after an employee called to complain that they hadn’t purchased anything.
In the Memphis incident, however, police who show up at the property speak to Hayes and quickly confirm he’d done nothing wrong. They tell the neighbor her complaint was unnecessary, even as she continues screaming for Hayes to “get out.”
“If you have any problems with her, what I want you to do is call me back over here,” a male police officer tells Hayes in the video. “She will go to jail for that.”
Similar situations have not always gone as smoothly — in several cases, men and women have been arrested only to have the charges dismissed after videos of the situation surface online. But Hayes, who finished the video by filming himself inspecting the inside of the house, said he was happy to be able to do the job and leave.
“The police, they were on my side,” said Hayes in the video. “I’m just happy to be going home now.”
Email Veronika Bondarenko