A San Francisco man is accusing two white people of calling the police after they spotted him writing “Black Lives Matter” in chalk at his own residence.
ABC7 News reported that a widely-shared video of the altercation was recorded by property owner James Juanillo, who identifies as a person of color. In the video, a white man and woman, who call themselves Lisa and Robert, demand to know whether Juanillo owns the building, telling him that it is “private property.”
“If I did live here, and this was my property, this would be absolutely fine?” Juanillo says. “And you don’t know if I live here, or if this is my property.”
“We actually do know, that’s why we’re asking,” says Lisa in the video, saying that the pair knows the people who live there. Juanillo tells the couple that they should call the police if they think he’s breaking the law.
Juanillo later told ABC7 News that the couple called the police.
“The police came and recognized me immediately as a resident of the house and left without getting out of their patrol car,” Juanillo said. “I didn’t even show them my ID.”
Juanillo said that he believes the couple must have taken issue with his message, because chalk would wash away in the rain. He termed Lisa’s actions “polite racism.”
“It’s respectable racism. ‘Respectfully, sir I don’t think you belong here,’” Juanillo said to ABC7 News.
The video, which has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, appears to have struck yet another cord as the national conversation continues about police brutality in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.
After the video was posted, many described Lisa as a “Karen” — a pejorative term for a white woman who uses her privilege to exert power over people of color, especially by calling the police. Over the last few years, a number of viral videos recorded on smartphones have drawn attention to similar incidents. In May, a white woman named Amy Cooper was recorded calling the police on a Black man in New York City’s Central Park after he asked her to leash her dog.
After the incident in San Francisco, social media users rushed to identify the couple, as Amy Cooper was identified. Lisa’s identity has not been independently confirmed, but the beauty service Birchbox released a statement condemning the actions of the woman identified by social media users as Lisa Alexander, the CEO of skincare company LAFACE.
“We have not worked with LAFACE for several years and, as a result of the CEO’s actions today, have officially cut ties with them. We’ve removed their products from our website and will not be working with them again in the future,” the company wrote on Twitter.
Alexander appears to have deleted her social media accounts after the video went viral, and could not be reached for comment.