Police called when Black women are exiting Airbnb rental
Carol Ozemhoya| OW Contributor | 5/9/2018, 10:48 a.m.
Kelly Fyffe-Marshall was vacationing in Rialto, California, staying at a house via Airbnb rental with four friends, three of which are Black. Everything went smoothly, until they were leaving and the cops surrounded their car. According to CNN, a neighbor called the police, apparently thinking the women were robbing the house. The neighbor is an elderly white woman. When the police confronted the women, who are sure the police were called because three of them were people of color. When Marshall tried to explain things to the lead officer, showing him their Airbnb documents, he didn’t even know what Airbnb was. It took some time for the situation to be diffused, even to the point where the homeowner was called to verify the women’s story. The situation was detailed in a Facebook post, which caught fire on social media, and once again an American firm had some explaining – and apologizing to do. “A neighbor across the street saw three Black people packing luggage into their car and assumed we were stealing from the house. She then called the police,” Fyffe-Marshall wrote. “At first we joked about the misunderstanding and took photos and videos along the way. About 20 minutes into this misunderstanding it escalated almost instantly.” The women were eventually released to continue to a nearby airport. Airbnb said in a statement to CNN that it has reached out to the women to “express our sympathy and full support.” The company also said what happened was “unconscionable and a reminder of how far we still have to go as a society.” Added Airbnb, “Airbnb's mission is to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere and we have aggressively worked to fight bias and discrimination in society. We are also reaching out to our partners at the NAACP, National Action Network, Color Of Change and others to discuss this matter and ensure we are doing all we can to protect our community when they travel.”