A mother wanted to teach her sons about the value of hard work and thought that a good old-fashioned paper route was the way to do so. Instead, however, her sons learned a hard lesson about being black in America, ABC6/FOX28 reports.
Brandie Sharp and sons Mycah, 17, and Uriah, 11, were working a paper route in a Columbus, Ohio, neighborhood when they realized they'd accidentally delivered a few papers to the wrong houses.
Sharp sent Uriah to retrieve the misplaced papers, and as he was doing so, a police officer approached the group.
"I showed him the thing for the Dispatch, The Bag, the midday week paper, that we get," Brandie told ABC6/FOX28. "And he said 'Oh, really?' and by that time I was kind of like, 'Okay, why are you questioning me about this?'"
A resident had called the police on the family.
"It looked like at first they were delivering newspapers or something, but I noticed they were walking up to the houses with nothing in hand and one of them came back with something," the caller told the dispatcher. "I mean, I don't want to say something was going on, but it just but it just seemed kind of suspicious."
Sharp isn’t buying it.
“I want to know what was suspicious, what was suspicious,” Sharp told NBC4. “That an 11-year -old was up in the driveway, getting a newspaper, literally went up and came right back down.”
The incident prompted an angry Facebook post from Sharp that went viral, with her apologizing for "bringing my 12-year-old African American son into your neighborhood to deliver the paper and make a few dollars on the side."
Police department spokesman Bryan McKean said the responding officer “determined very quickly that these individuals were delivering the newspaper," and that race wasn’t a factor in the department's response.
“If she feels she was treated unfairly by our officer, we want to hear from her,” McKean said. “We want to know what our officer did to make her feel that way so we can investigate that and we can find out.”
The Upper Arlington Police Department also issued a statement describing the incident and pointing out a law saying delivery people cannot leave papers in driveways.
“For some context, [Upper Arlington] recently enacted a law placing more stringent requirements on the delivery of printed materials, such as advertising packets, to help reduce littering. Deliveries must be made to specific locations, such as on a porch or through a mail slot in the front door,” the statement read. “This has changed the patterns of delivery people, since they are required to walk up to each home to correctly deliver these materials. Residents are seeing this change in approach but may not be aware of the new law.”
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