“Permit Patty” has reportedly resigned from her job at the cannabis company she founded amid outcry for calling police on a girl selling water. Nathan Rousseau Smith has the story. Buzz60
A man has apologized after calling the police on a black man in a confrontation outside a San Francisco apartment building last week. The video of the incident gained attention on social media.
Wesly Michel, who is black, shared the video on Facebook on July 4. San Francisco police confirmed to USA TODAY that the incident took place around the time the video was posted. The video shows a young boy tearfully begging his father not to call authorities.
The man in the video, Christopher Cukor, alleged that Michel was trespassing into the complex and demanded that Michel identify his friend on the apartment’s call box.
Cukor has been recently publicly identified as Head of Smart TV Partnerships at YouTube. USA TODAY has repeatedly requested comment from Google, YouTube’s parent company.
When Michel refuses, saying he is simply waiting for a friend who lives in the building, tension rises. Cukor calls authorities; Michel warns him repeatedly that the altercation is being recorded.
The video, which Michel published on Facebook and YouTube, has nearly 3 million views between the two platforms.
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“I’m recording you right now. You’re just going to be the next person on TV,” said Michel, asking Cukor to walk away and saying that he’ll delete the video if he does. “Just remember that. And your son’s with you.”
Cukor’s son, standing next to him, repeatedly begs his father to walk away from the confrontation and hang up the call to the police.
“Daddy, let’s go, please,” said his son. “I don’t like this.” Cukor shushes him.
Michel, frustrated by the escalating incident, repeatedly curses. The video ends as a friend of Michel’s arrives and is greeted by Michel.
“Daddy, look what you’ve gotten us into,” Cukor’s son said. “Let’s go!”
‘I did what came naturally’
Cukor publicly apologized Tuesday and explained his side of the encounter in a post on Medium, citing a tragic incident involving his father.
He said he was leaving the building with his son to take him to a friend’s house when he noticed Michel entering the building without using the call box.
“I did what came naturally and asked where he was going,” Cukor wrote, adding that he does this regularly, regardless of the person’s race, because of prior trespassers and robberies he’s faced in the building from people “of all different colors.”
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Cukor said he offered to hold the door while Michel called his friend on the call box. He called the police as soon as “the encounter turned confrontational.”
“For my child’s safety, my safety and that of the building, I felt it was necessary to get help in this situation,” Cukor wrote.
Cukor entered the confrontation with “a unique history.” His father, Peter, was murdered in 2012 outside of his home in Berkeley by a trespasser who suffered from schizophrenia.
“Unfortunately there is a terrible pattern of people calling the authorities regarding people of color for no other reason than their race,” Cukor wrote. “The last thing I ever intended was to echo that history — and I’m sorry my actions caused Wesly to feel unfairly targeted due to his race.”
‘That’s a death threat’
In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday, Lemon pressed Michel, asking whether he understood why Cukor wouldn’t let him into the building. Lemon added that he may not have let Michel into the building if he were in the same position.
“The question you need to ask yourself is if (Cukor) saw another person that looks like him with a son walking inside of the building, would he have reacted the same?” Michel replied.
“That is the real question.”
After police arrived, Michel said, Cukor repeatedly told officers Michel had threatened his life.
Cukor hinted to the police at the possibility that Michel may have been armed in the video. “He’s not armed … as far as I can tell,” Cukor said on the phone with authorities.
A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department told USA TODAY that officers determined that no crime had taken place after an investigation.
“It’s very, very important for people to understand when you call a police officer on an African American male, it’s completely different from somebody calling a police officer on someone else,” Michel said to Lemon.
“That’s a death threat. I could literally die from that altercation and I could just simply beanother hashtag in the news or on Twitter.”
This incident is the latest in a string of white individuals calling the police on black people doing everyday activities, such as hosting a barbecue at a park, running a lemonade stand and swimming in public pools.
Often, they are branded on social media with alliterative nicknames – Permit Patty and BBQ Becky, for example. Cukor, for his part, has become known as #CallboxChristopher.
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Often, the social media shaming is followed by other consequences. The woman dubbed Permit Patty, for instance, resigned from a position as CEO of a cannabis company she founded. Cukor has been met with repeated protests on social media from people calling for his firing at YouTube.
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