"Growing up in Indiana, you hear rumors about places where blacks aren't welcomed," Indianapolis native Chris Sullivan told the Indy Star.
He didn't realize, however, that those rumors were true of the upscale suburb, Fishers City, Sullivan moved to with his wife and two children after getting a new job.
The Sullivan family found themselves one of the neighborhood's few black faces. They stood out. And they drew attention.
In July, someone left an anonymous racially charged letter in Sullivan's mailbox. The missive claimed that he was making their neighborhood look "ghetto" because his the grass in his backyard was not cut.
"I felt like I was going back in time," he said. "I couldn't believe this was still going on in 2017."
Unfortunately, this didn't mark the end of the family's trials.
Fast-forward to almost three weeks later. Sullivan found himself being questioned by the local police in a manner that he feels was racially motivated.
According to Sullivan, on July 24, the police searched and questioned him on the front doorstep of his home claiming they were interrogating him because of a domestic disturbance call involving a man and woman.
Sullivan was confused why they were interrogating him. His wife wasn't even home at the time. And he himself had just arrived home.
After exercising at a local fitness center, Sullivan arrived home at 11 p.m. to stumble upon a police officer shining a bright spotlight on his face and immediately asking him questions.
“I asked if there was a problem and he said, ‘We’ll see,’” said Sullivan. “He started asking me who the owner of the house was, what was I doing there, who lived in the house?”
Though Sullivan informed the officer that his family had not come home yet, the officer demanded that Sullivan call for his wife to come outside "to prove that she was okay" per Sullivan's statement.
“They said I was sweating and looked like I could have been in a fight,” Sullivan said. “I told them L.A. Fitness was two minutes away, so of course I was still sweating. They could see my gym bag.”
The officer then proceeded to request Sullivan's identification. When Sullivan reached for his bag to pull out his ID, the officer gestured toward his gun. Not willing to potentially risk his life, Sullivan dropped his bag and raised his hands in the air.
Oddly, the 911 call that led to the police coming to Sullivan's block specifically described the domestic dispute as taking place between white people, and placed the location of the dispute as across the street from Sullivan's house.
The police department said in a statement that its officer had followed procedures correctly.
“I’m friendly with the man," said Sullivan about the actual suspect. "One of the few neighbors I talk to, but they were just standing there watching all this when they knew the call to police came from them."
After the letter and the gun scare, Sullivan decided that he had enough, particularly given that the Home Owners Association did not reach out to him in the wake of these events.
Eric Moeller, a Fishers City Council member did speak out about the issue.
"It happened in my district, and I was very disappointed after hearing about it," Moeller said. "I wanted to assure him, as a constituent, that this was not typical behavior in Fishers, that this appeared to be a 'one-off'.'"
Moeller's assurances were not enough for Sullivan.
"I said, 'That's it. I'm out of Fishers.'" Sullivan said. He moved his family to Indianapolis.
Because Sullivan and his family had only lived in Fishers for a few short months, it was quite confusing to his children why they were moving again so suddenly. But Chris Sullivan had the best response to comfort his son, Xavier.
"I want to tell him something, but he's just a kid and hasn't been exposed to a lot of this yet," Sullivan said. "Maybe when he's older he won't be an issue anymore. Or maybe he'll just learn it on his own. For now, I just tell him we are moving somewhere that has more kids like him."