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A white woman on Saturday called the police on an 8-year-old Black girl for selling water “illegally” outside an apartment building. But the woman, Allison Ettel, said she wasn’t being racist and that she was only pretending to call the cops.
“I have no problem with enterprising young women. I want to support that little girl. It was all the mother and just about being quiet,” Ettel told the Huffington Post. “… It was stupid. I completely regret that I handled that so poorly. It was completely stress-related, and I should have never confronted her. That was a mistake, a complete mistake. Please don’t make me sound horrible.”
The incident occurred in San Francisco in front of an apartment building, and according to Ettel, she grew frustrated because they were so loud in trying to sell water. Ettel’s solution, then, was to call the police—or to pretend to call the police.
Instagram user @ladyesowavy, the girl’s mother, recorded Ettel on her phone and wrote, “Make this bitch go viral like #bbqbecky she’s #permitpatty would you rather my daughter be out here getting into shit Fr cuz an 8 year old selling water in front of her apartment building where she’s lived her whole life is NOT a reason to call the Police.”
The mother referenced #bbqbecky, the white woman in Oakland who called the police on a group of Black people who were barbecuing in a park in April, because she said they were using charcoal in an area that prohibited charcoal grills.
“This woman don’t want a little girl to sell some water, she’s calling the police on an 8-year-old little girl,” the mother said. After Ettel ducked behind a wall, the mother approached her and said, “You can hide all you want, the whole world gonna see you, boo.”
Said Ettel: “Yeah, and um, illegally selling water without a permit?”
“On my property,” the mother said.
“It’s not your property,” Ettel responded.
Ettel later told the Huffington Post that the mother and daughter were “screaming” about the water they were selling. She said she felt “horrible and heart-wrenched” after the incident.
“They were screaming about what they were selling,” she said. “It was literally nonstop. It was every two seconds, ‘Come and buy my water.’ It was continuous and it wasn’t a soft voice, it was screaming … I had been putting up with this for hours, and I just snapped,”
She also said the incident had nothing to do with race; it was only about the volume of their salesmanship.
Later, @ladyesowavy posted this to Instagram.
According to Heavy.com, the police never arrived.
White People: Pull yourself up by the bootstraps!— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) June 23, 2018
Black Girl: Okay.
White People: *calls police*#PermitPatty
Updated list of things POC cant do— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) June 24, 2018
•Backyard cell while Black
•Starbucks while Black
•Waffle House while Black
•College tour while Native American
•Walking while Indian
•Buying mints while Latino
•Not waving while Black
•Selling water while a Black child#PermitPatty
Now, according to SF Gate, Ettel is receiving death threats. “It was wrong, and I wish I could take it back,” she told SF Gate.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.