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Police called on former Obama staffer for 'moving while black'

Elise Solé

A former White House staffer who served under President Obama was swarmed by six police officers while moving into his New York apartment after a neighbor reported a “burglary in progress.”

Darren Martin, who works for the city’s Department of Social Services, tweeted the entire ordeal on Friday night, along with a video of his interaction with the officers. “Can’t go nowhere without the cops following me. You know how it is,” Martin says in the footage. At one point, a 911 dispatcher is heard over the radio saying that “Somebody was trying to break in the door” with a “possible weapon.” 






Yes we did.It has been an honor, sir.

Posted by Darren D. Martin on Friday, January 13, 2017

Martin described the moment of “pre-arrest when your fate is not in your hands” and how the “lingering pit in my stomach came from how my neighbors viewed me. How they officially welcomed me into the building. Call the police on this Black man who DEFINITELY doesn’t live here. The man who worked for President Obama and now serves his fellow New Yorkers.” 

On Tuesday, the incident trended on Twitter and inspired the hashtag #MovingWhileBlack.

Martin did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.

On Thursday, Amber Phillips, a black woman, was questioned by police after her seatmate on an American Airlines flight from North Carolina to Washington, D.C., reported her for assault because their arms touched during the flight.

Phillips says her so-called crime was “flying while fat and black,” telling Yahoo Lifestyle“As a black woman, my life is always at risk, especially when facing policies that are in place to discriminate. Fatness is not the problem — the problem is the discriminatory and racist way we treat fat people in this country. I also need people to know that the intersections of my identity as a fat, black woman are what led to the racist interactions with the white passenger and the police.”

She added, “This situation is why white people should stop calling the police on black people who are simply existing, especially in a country that, right now, is filled with unapologetic hatred.” 

And in 2015, a black women’s book club traveling on the Napa Valley Wine Train was booted for laughing too loudly amongst themselves. The group was escorted off, including a woman in her 80s, reported the Washington Post, and met with waiting police. At first, the train company defended its decision by posting on Facebook, “Following verbal and physical abuse toward other guests and staff, it was necessary to get our police involved.” However, after the hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack was born, it admitted being “100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue.”

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