An African-American man says he was racially profiled by a neighbor who lives in the same New York City apartment building – the latest in a series of incidents in which white people have hassled black people for going about routine activities.
Chika Okafor, 29, who is black, posted video on social media Thursday showing him and his friend, who is also black, being confronted in his Upper West Side apartment building by a white neighbor.
The two men were said to be waiting for a Lyft ride when they were accosted by a man, who is white, who claimed to be a resident in the building.
The unidentified man appeared to be in his 50s. He was wearing a blue baseball cap and had graying hair and a white mustache.
Chika Okafor (right), 29, who is black, posted video on social media Thursday showing him and his friend, who is also black, being confronted in his Upper West Side apartment building by a white neighbor (left)
The unidentified man appeared to be in his 50s. He was wearing a blue baseball cap and had graying hair and a white mustache
The man berated the two black men and said he did not believe that Okafor lived in the apartment building. The same man was later seen (above) denying entry to a white couple which told him they had rented an apartment in the building through Airbnb
Cassius Flemming (above) was waiting with Okafor for a Lyft ride on the first floor of the apartment building when the incident took place
Okafor wrote about the incident on Facebook and posted a video which went viral
Okafor, who works for the sports news site Bleacher Report, wrote on his Facebook page: ‘I was racially profiled in my apartment complex last night.
‘While I was with my friend Cassius Flemming waiting for a Lyft ride on the first floor of the building that I have lived in since mid-December of last year, this man interrogated me about where I live.
‘As you can see, he thought that he was entitled to know who I was and where I lived simply because, according to him, he lived there for 27 years.
‘The arrogance is appalling but honestly, not surprising because far too many times people of color have been victims of this kind of behavior.’
The incident brings to mind other instances this past year in which whites have complained to police against blacks for doing routine activities.
In April, Jennifer Shulte was widely ridiculed on social media as ‘Barbecue Becky’ when she called the police on a black family and their usage of a charcoal grill in an Oakland park.
Allison Ettel would get her own nickname after calling the San Francisco police on an eight-year-old black girl who was selling bottled water.
Hillary Thorton – also known as Apartment Patty – physically blocked 24-year-old D’Arreion Toles from entering his own St. Louis apartment on October 12.
The clip shows the older gentleman talking in an animated fashion to the two younger men.
‘Why don’t you speak to me like a normal guy?’ one of the black men tells the white man.
‘What are you doing in my building? You don’t live here,’ the white man responds.
‘He lives right upstairs,’ Flemming tells the white man.
‘You don’t live here. I’ve never seen you before. I’ve lived here 27 years,’ he responds.
‘Why are you doing this?’ Flemming asks.
Okafor is a producer for the sports news site Bleacher Report
To which the white man replies: ‘You’re smooth. You’re smooth. You’re the smooth king.’
‘We live here,’ they insist.
‘What apartment do you live in? Let’s talk about that,’ the suspecting man replies.
‘It’s none of your business,’ they tell him.
‘I do it to white people, too,’ the man shoots back.
Then one of the black men says: ‘We heard you at the door. We heard you say, “Who the F are these guys?”
‘Do you own this building?’ they ask him.
‘Yes, I do,’ he says.
Then one of the black men asks: ‘Where’s your MAGA hat?’
The clip went viral on Facebook, generating nearly 200 shares as of late Tuesday. It has been viewed more than 1.4 million times.
Okafor says he has lived in the building since last year.
The apartment building is a four-story walk-up on First Avenue near 74th Street, according to The New York Times.
‘I felt insulted,’ Okafor said.
‘I felt violated. To me, his behavior suggested that, one, because we were people of color we were a threat to their safety, and, two, because we are people of color we can’t afford to live in that type of apartment complex.
‘It’s the Upper East Side. It’s considered to be one of the wealthy parts of Manhattan.
Okafor says he has lived in the building since last year. The apartment building is a four-story walk-up on First Avenue near 74th Street
‘It’s a nice apartment.’
Hours after the encounter with Okafor and Flemming, the same man was filmed in another argument with a white couple.
Janah Reynolds, who is visiting New York for the holidays with her husband and two sons, was renting a first-floor apartment in the building through Airbnb.
After arriving from Hong Kong, Reynolds and her husband dropped their bags at the apartment on Wednesday and went out while her mother-in-law watched the children.
When she and her husband returned, the same man refused to let them in.
He told them it was illegal for them to rent an apartment for just a few nights.
New York is one of a number of large cities in the U.S. that have cracked down on Airbnb rentals, though it is not clear if this particular rent was illegal.
Hours after the encounter with Okafor and Flemming, the same man was filmed in another argument with a white couple. Janah Reynolds, who is visiting New York for the holidays with her husband and two sons, was renting a first-floor apartment in the building through Airbnb
In the video, which Reynolds posted as a response to Okafor’s post, the couple is seen arguing with the same man.
They said they called police multiple times while waiting for more than an hour outside before the man finally allowed them inside.
Neither Reynolds or Okafor knew the man’s name. Okafor said he had never seen him before the encounter.
Okafor filed a complaint with the building manager, who declined to get involved.
Instead, Okafor was told to file a complaint with police, though he said he did not plan on doing so.
Okafor is, however, seeking an apology from the man, whom he believes should be evicted.
‘I’m not going to change how I live my life based on this guy’s inappropriate behavior,’ Okafor said.