(FOX 11) - A man told his story about an experience he described as racial profiling in a neighborhood where he was parked in his car.
Ezekiel Phillips said if he weren’t black, a white woman would have never felt threatened by his presence.
“You don’t have to call 911 on me. Talk to me. Ask me my name,” Phillips said.
The incident happened around 1 p.m. in May 30.
Phillips had just dropped someone off near 1470 Ramillo Avenue in Long Beach and decided to take a 30-minute break before going to his yoga class, which was around the corner.
He was listening to his bikram yoga CD in when a woman walked up to his car.
“You’re not supposed to be here. This is a good neighborhood. At that moment I’m like, ‘wait hold up’. Have a good day ma’am. Namaste. And I rolled my window up,” he told FOX 11 reporter, Leah Uko.
The verbal exchange escalated from there.
“She took her phone out; started taking pictures, filming doing whatever she was doing. Hey I went to film school. I can take film as well. So I got out the car, I started filming her as soon as I start filming her, ‘what are you doing?’ Leave me alone! I’m feeling threatened. Help! Help!’ It was one of those.”
The woman called for Long Beach police to come to her street.
In the 911 audio obtained by FOX 11, the woman is heard addressing the operator.
“I noticed him two houses up from my parents’ house and I’m like, you know and he’s waving to me. I don’t know who he is.“
She added, “I go ‘why are you sitting in your car in our neighborhood? And he goes ‘I’m resting’ and I’m like you weren’t two blocks back’’.”
As she walked to a neighbor’s house, Phillips followed her.
“I can’t get away from him! Get away from me!” She yelled over the call.
Phillips said he was going to leave, but decided to stay.
“I thought about it. ‘If I leave, it’s looking like I’m guilty of whatever she’s talking about.”
We spoke with the neighbor whose house the woman went over to. He didn’t want to speak on camera, but said he only called 911 because the woman asked and was screaming for help.
Other neighbors, including Kelly Odom, agreed with Phillips that the woman’s actions were racist.
“We all don’t feel that way,” Odom said referring to white people.
“I don’t think if somebody were white sitting in the car, somebody would have called the police. I don’t. I don’t,” She continued. “I think it’s horrible. It’s acting ‘Trumpish’. It’s okay to be a racist and it’s not.”
FOX 11 tried finding the woman’s home and called her several times.
There was no answer from her as to why she felt threatened or why she stated Phillips attacked someone, which according to the 91 audio call, was not true.
“Ma’am. When you say he attacked other persons, what did he do to them?” the operator is overheard.
The woman responded saying “He’s trying to give his business card to this other guy that I’m proof that he didn’t do anything to me.”
LBPDbdid not file an incident report and said no crime was committed. A spokesperson said that whenever people see something, they should say something.
Therefor in this case, the woman felt threatened, LBPD said calling 911 was within reason. It was then up to police who arrived on scene to determine no crime had occurred.
Phillips said he hoped this whole incident would be a teachable moment.
“It’s no longer cool to allow your discomfort to say that my discomfort is more valuable than the potential fact that this call, your life can be taken.”