On Tuesday, the black real estate investor Michael Hayes was doing his job, inspecting a house in Memphis when a white neighbor, Tiffany Albert, demanded to know why he was outside.
Rather than believing Hayes' work, and his qualifications to be there, Albert escalated the situation by calling the police on him.
After she called the police, Hayes immediately started recording the interaction.
Sadly, a story of a white woman calling the cops on a black man for existing in what she considers her white space is very common in America. And if you're anything like me, your expectations of the cops are fairly low.
However, in this rare and documented scenario, the cops actually listened to, and sided with Hayes.
Not only did officers tell Albert that Hayes had every right to do his job, but they also offered to stay with him while he finished taking pictures of the house (to ensure Albert wouldn't do anything off-hand).
One officer told Hayes to feel free to call them if he had further issues with Albert, and they directly warned her that she was at risk of being arrested if she continued her harassment.
People on Twitter are (sadly) surprised by the police response, and it serves as a reminder of what police forces should do: actually protect citizens.
The story opened up discussions about the ways police forces could actively work against racism in the community, as well as the reasons Albert shouldn't be let off the hook for her actions.
The way she interacted with Hayes and assumed him to be a threat reflects not only upon her personal racism, but the ways black people, and people of color are pathologized by the white gaze. Also, there's a certain element of white entitlement that comes into play when white women (or men) make bold-faced claims that someone "doesn't belong" in their space.
Sadly, most of the news stories of this nature end very differently. But this serves as an example of what could, and should be the way police handle racist 911 callers.