Donisha Prendergast, the granddaughter of reggae legend Bob Marley, is suing California Police after they mistook her and three of her friends for thieves.
Prendergast together with her two friends, Kells Fyffe-Marshall and Komi-Oluwa Olafimihan had rented out an Airbnb in Rialto. While they were checking out, seven police vehicles arrived at the scene, blocking them from leaving.
“Got surrounded by the police for being black in a white neighbourhood. Smh. I’m sad and irritated to see that fear is still the first place police officers go in their pursuit to serve and protect, to the point that protocol supersedes their ability to have discernment. Many have suffered and died in moments like these. That’s a crazy reality check,” Prendergast said on Instagram, where she posted the videos of their encounter with police.
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Fyffe-Marshall took to Facebook to document the situation.
“We were surrounded by 7 cop cars. The officers came out of their cars demanding us to put our hands in the air. They informed us that there was also a helicopter tracking us. They locked down the neighbourhood and had us standing in the street.”
Fyffe-Marshall added that the situation, which they had treated as simple misunderstanding escalated when the sergeant arrived and explained why they had blocked them from leaving.
“The cops admit that the woman’s reason for calling the police was because we didn’t WAVE to her as she looked at us putting our luggage into our car from her lawn,” she added.
Following the incident, the three women served the Rialto Police Department with notice of a pending lawsuit on Monday.
However, Captain William Wilson of the Rialto Police Department said that the process was in order as “Nobody had their hands up in the air. There was no guns pointed. Nobody was put on the curb.”