Setting aside for a second the inherent bias and officiousness of one SF resident who pulled out his phone to call the cops on a black guy who was standing in an apartment entryway waiting for a friend who lived there, has this guy not paid any attention to the internet or TV in the last several years? There's been a few memes about white people like this. Just sayin.
A particularly paranoid Caucasian San Franciscan decided it was necessary to call the police when he encountered black software engineer Wesly Michel in the vestibule of his building last week. Forbes identifies the white man as YouTube employee Christopher Cukor, though that can not be confirmed.
Michel is asked to dial his friend on the apartment call box, and Michel refuses, saying he's waiting for his friend — who he says is handicapped — to arrive. The filming begins from Michel's cell phone as Cukor pulls out his phone, and Michel says, "I'm filming you and I just want you to know that you're going to be the next person... on TV."
Meanwhile, Cukor's young son is by his side and says, "Daddy don't" when he pulls out his phone, and later says, "Daddy, I don’t like this, let’s go." Smart kid.
Essence picked up the story, and by way of context, reporter Yesha Callahan explains that Cukor has perhaps spent the last few years on edge — his father was killed by a mentally ill intruder in the driveway of his Berkeley home in 2012 (a story we covered here on SFist).
The tense situation resolved itself when, less than a minute later, Michel's friend — who lives in the building — arrived on the scene.
But Michel fulfilled his promise about publicizing the encounter, posting the video below to Facebook.
Update: Cukor has posted his side of the encounter on Medium, saying, "I noticed Wesly Michel caught the door and entered the building without using the callbox. I did what came naturally and asked where he was going. I want to be clear on this point, this is something I do regularly, regardless of who the other person is." He adds, "As I learned later, Wesly was a friend of a guest of a resident in the building. The building resident was not expecting Wesly."
Also, Cukor writes, regarding his lack of self-awareness in the moment, "Unfortunately there is a terrible pattern of people calling the authorities regarding people of color for no other reason than their race. The last thing I ever intended was to echo that history ."
Michel issued a full statement, in which he said, "When the police arrived, he told them I threatened his life. I simply handed the police the video in hand and they told me I was free to go."