On June 30, Montclair, New Jersey, resident Fareed Nassor Hayat, a law professor at the City University of New York School of Law, took to his Facebook page to post a video of a woman in his neighborhood reportedly harassing him and his family. Hayat wrote that a woman named Susan had called the police and filed a “false report of assault against me when told to leave our property.” According to Hayat, Susan had come over three times in the span of one hour to complain and accuse Hayat of illegally installing a stone patio in his backyard. Hayat’s backyard apparently runs up against Susan’s fence.
”When asked if a permit was required by law, she said she didn’t know, but insisted we answer her questions and submit to her demands, or she would call the police to force us to stop improving our home. (A permit is not required in Montclair for a stone patio this size. This fact was known to us through our own independent research, our contractor and later verified when building and safety arrived at our home to investigate her complaint.)“
Hayat and his wife then demanded that Susan leave their property. It was at this point that Susan called the police and alleged Hayat had put his hands on her. The video begins as Susan calls the police. Neighbors can be seen coming out of their homes, all of whom disagree with Susan’s account of the facts. In the video you can also hear Hayat and his wife complaining that this neighbor has been “harassing” their family for two years.
The historic danger for Black folks (and especially Black men) having law enforcement called on them by white women is high. The true number of atrocities that have befallen Black men as a result of this kind of racism, abuse of power, and bigotry is impossible to quantify. Once would be an entirely unacceptable number for a civilized society.
Montclair Local reports that “Susan” did not end up filing a formal complaint, and pointed out that the incident echoed a similar news story from late May, when New Yorker Amy Cooper called the police on bird watcher Christian Cooper—who is Black—and threatened to claim he was assaulting her.
“Susan,” who apparently works for the EPA in Edison, New Jersey, was very quickly outed as federal worker Susan Schulz and within hours, local youth held a protest on her block, marching up and down while chanting slogans like, “Hey hey, ho ho, your racist self has got to go.” Schulz called police on the group and then told officers that protesters threw objects at her house.