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‘I don’t know how much more privileged you think you can be.’
A white woman called the police on a Black man on Wednesday because his dog had humped her dog and he didn’t leave the public park when she asked him to.
The man, Franklin Baxley, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, uploaded four videos of the incident that took place 15 minutes away from his home at Attleboro Dog Park in Massachusetts. Baxley, who said he goes to that park every day with his dog, told the Daily Dot that when he arrived with both his own and his nephew’s dog, there were no other dogs at the park. He let them out without a leash and waited in the car since it was cold outside.
“You’re supposed to be in the park with your dog,” Baxley said, “[but that’s one of the rules] that no one pays attention to when there’s no one else in the park.”
Once the woman, who has not been identified but who has since earned the name “Dog Park Debbie,” pulled up next to him with her dog, Baxley said he joined his dogs. “Whenever a new dog comes to the park, the dogs already at the park are excited,” Baxley explained. “And my dogs are excited. The humping goes on for a few times.”
He said he apologized to the woman and told her they would stop in a minute or so.
“She’s upset that my dog keeps mouthing her dog, at some point, she’s just like why don’t you leave. And I’m like I’m not gonna leave. Then she got on the phone and called the police—because I defied her order.”
In one of the four videos uploaded by Baxley, he is seen asking her, “Why are you calling the cops right now? Because I told you I wasn’t leaving the park because my dog humped your dog?”
The woman, seen on the phone supposedly with the cops, is heard saying, “He is verbally assaulting me.”
Baxley responds, “I’m not verbally assaulting you. I told you I’m not leaving.”
Another white woman then chimes in and says, “That’s inappropriate for a dog park.”
“Honestly, I’m just trying to tell you what the rules are,” says the second woman. “You are not obeying the rules. You can’t allow your dog aggressively on top of another dog.”
“Dogs hump each other every other day,” Baxley says. “You just don’t call the cops over it.”
Posted by Franklin Baxley on Wednesday, February 27, 2019
In another video shared by Baxley, the second woman is seen trying to defend the cop-calling white woman and again accuses Baxley of not obeying the rules. In a third video shared by Baxley, the original woman is heard saying, “This is not shameful for me. You’re the one who’s yelling at me and assaulting a woman.”
“You should be shameful,” Baxley responds. “I can’t yell at you cause you’re yelling at me…you’re telling me to leave. I don’t have to leave the park because my dog tried to hump your dog.”
“Because your dog keeps humping my dog and assaults him,” the woman cuts in to tell him.
In another video, supposedly after the calls were made, the woman is seen trying to avoid Baxley and saying, “Get away from me.”
“She goes from being afraid of my dog ‘assaulting’ her dog to say she’s in fear of her safety,” Baxley told the Daily Dot, adding that he made sure to record the incident so she wouldn’t make false allegations. “If you’re afraid for your life, you get your dog and you leave. She doesn’t do that so I…recorded her.”
Here is the one where she starts behaving as if she is threatened by me and is accusing me of following her around the park as I am following my dogs like any other dog owner. I was annoyed, so I began mocking her. Sorry, not sorry.
Posted by Franklin Baxley on Thursday, February 28, 2019
Many commenting on Baxley’s video pointed out the entitlement she felt to stay in the park despite being the one who had an issue in the situation.
“What most people fail to understand is that it really and truly is an entitlement and safety issue. It can be very dangerous for a POC to have any interaction with the police. Not all police, obviously, but how would this man or any other know the type of police officer that is coming and how they will be treated?” one woman commented on a follow-up post by Baxley.
In the last video, once police arrive, Baxley has a calm conversation with the officer and the two discuss other issues with his car. The woman tries again to claim that the “rules” require that Baxley leave because his dog was humping hers.
Baxley said he feels he was criminalized while the women were supported.
“They comforted her, they criminalized me,” he told the Daily Dot, adding that the first thing the officer asked him about was his car engine running, and not the issue at hand.
The Daily Dot reached out to Attleboro Dog Park about its protocol for dogs humping each other and will update the story if it responds. A video taken at the park, uploaded as recently as December, shows two puppies engaging in similar behavior and no one seems bothered.
Baxley said, even though he was a bit concerned because the second woman had reportedly asked people not to “engage” with him in a private dog park Facebook group, he returned to the park the next day.
As Baxley aptly said of the women, “I don’t know how much more privileged you think you can be.”
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque