An Ohio woman allegedly called the police on a black woman and her two sons as they delivered newspapers to homes in the neighborhood, according to reports.
Brandie Sharp had accompanied her sons, 17-year-old Micah and 11-year-old Uriah, as they delivered "The Bag," a weekly paper associated with The Columbus Dispatch that's filled with ads, to porches in Upper Arlington Friday.
"It is the whole job of teaching them to work," Sharp told WSYX-TV.
But as Sharp’s younger son Uriah approached a home that he realized had wrongly been given a paper, police allegedly approached the family, asking what they were doing, Sharp said.
“I showed him the thing for the Dispatch, The Bag, the midday week paper, that we get,” she said. “And he said ‘Oh really?’ and by that time I was kind of like, 'OK, why are you questioning me about this?'"
Someone had apparently called police to report what they believed was “suspicious” behavior.
“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," a woman said in a 911 call obtained by the TV station. “I mean, I don’t want to say something was going on, but it just seemed kind of suspicious."
Sharp later spoke about the incident on Facebook, writing: “Sad I can’t even teach my son the value of working without someone whispering and looking at us out the side of their eye perhaps because we DON'T 'look like a person that belongs in their neighborhood.'"
Police told the station that they often respond to calls from people worried about what they deem suspicious behavior.
"We sent an officer out to take a look at it," Officer Bryan McKean said. "When our officer arrived on scene, he very quickly determined ... that these individuals were delivering the newspaper."
He noted race played no role in the officers’ actions, saying: "I would say to anyone who feels like their interaction with us was not professional and not to the highest standard, to contact us directly."