People call cops on Black firefighter… for doing his job
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 6/27/2018, 9:58 a.m.
The new trend among racists these days seems to be to call the police on Black folks, many who are just doing their job or going about daily business they are entitled to just like their white counterparts. The latest case of harassment against a person of color that has gone viral happened in Oakland, when a Black firefighter had the police called on him, and all he was doing was his job. According to the New York Times and other news sources. Kevin Moore (who is Black) was on inspection duty last month in the woodland hills of the Oakland area looking for things that could spark catastrophic fires, such as broken branches and toppled trees. All of a sudden, 911 operators received a call about a suspicious man in the backyards of area homes. That same day, a resident sent an Oakland police officer footage from a home security camera that showed Moore ringing a doorbell. And when Moore returned to the area last week for more inspections, a resident confronted him with a cellphone camera and demanded to see his identification. In each of the cases, Moore, who is a veteran of the fire department, was reported to the authorities or viewed suspiciously for simply doing his job. “People need to know that minorities are treated differently in this country,” Megan Bryan, an Oakland firefighter who works with Moore at Fire Station 24, said Tuesday. “I’ve never had anyone wonder what I’m doing in their yard,” added Bryan, who is white. “But with Kevin, it’s a different attitude. They are suspicious.” The encounters in the Oakland hills section of the city, which Bryan shared on her Facebook page, were reported over the weekend in the San Francisco Chronicle. On Monday, city leaders sent an email to every municipal employee. “Recent events in Oakland and around the country demonstrate that implicit bias and overt racism persist and cause great harm to our communities of color,” Sabrina Landreth, the city administrator, wrote. “Now more than ever we need to treat each other with kindness, dignity and respect; stand up for injustice; speak out for what’s right; and support each other and our community.” The Oakland Black Firefighters Association planned to send an email to its members on Tuesday as well. Damon Covington, the group’s president and a fire department captain, said he hoped what happened with Moore would lead to a conversation in the city about biases and the treatment of others. “It’s a teaching moment and reminder that everyone should be treated with fairness, dignity and respect,” Covington said. “We shouldn’t be profiled because the Fire Department is always there to help and help you save your home in the event of a wildfire.” Moore, who has worked with the fire department for 12 years, did not respond to repeated requests for interviews. Covington and Bryan said he told them this week that he did not want to speak with the media.