Kevin Moore was having just another regular day of work as a firefighter in Oakland, California, this time by participating in a safety inspection. The result? Residents filmed him, asked for his ID and called police. All in a day’s work––if you happen to be African-American.
Moore was in an upscale neighborhood completing mandatory outdoor inspections of vegetation growing around homes. He was in uniform, with clipboard and radio, but if this wasn’t enough indication that he was with the fire department, the big fire truck parked on the street may have been a clue.
If the calls and demands for ID weren’t enough, one resident even went so far as to email security footage of Moore to the Oakland Police Department. The big, scary crime? Moore, in uniform, knocking on a door. In a statement to reporters, Moore said:
I try to put myself in other people’s shoes, like if I see someone in my yard, I’d ask what they’re doing. That’s why I always call out, ‘Hello! Hello! Oakland Fire Department!’ Because I want to be heard. I just don’t want somebody to look out their window and see somebody in their backyard.
All residents received notices that the inspections would be taking place and that the fire department reserves the legal right to make safety inspections. Megan Bryan, who works with Moore, plans to partner up with him because she is worried about his safety. She said:
It’s not fair to him, and it’s actually not safe for him to be going into these backyards due to the sociopolitical climate.
Bryan also noted that there have never been calls on herself or any of the other white firefighters while conducting these annual inspections.
Bryan took to Facebook to show the difference in how people of color are treated.
People of color weighed in on how they too have been treated.
As the story went viral, the media began reporting the story.
— The Root (@TheRoot) June 26, 2018
The African-American community is fed up with this racist behavior.
Damn, now they are complaining about us #workingwhileblack? And they call us lazy? Wth is really going on?
— Precious Peaches ♏ (@cocoabrownj) June 26, 2018
Right now a lot of people are simply high on the idea of #whiteness
Right now they are living vicariously through the power of their police
They're itching to take part in humiliating us
they're longing for the days when they could take their family to enjoy a local lynching
— Kim (@truthrocker) June 26, 2018
Of course! It's Black People Are Freely Roaming Syndrome.
— Danette from Georgia (@MacCheEconomics) June 26, 2018
Many people feel it’s time to turn the tables.
We should start doing this to white people , and then see what happens!!!!!
— A. Mustafa Hakim (@AMustafa0949) June 26, 2018
The Black firefighters should be doing the Usher slide and singing this song when the alarm goes off that these racists houses are on fire pic.twitter.com/ShdKbWguFf
— LoveWillTeaRusApart (@reality_back2) June 26, 2018
They don't want an inspection? That's fine, let that shit burn then.
— Shauna T (@shauna_t1) June 26, 2018
This Twitter user spoke to the deeper problem.
They want us in jail and to be free labor for the prison industrial complex!
— Lawrence Fitzgerald Wright (@iamlfwright) June 26, 2018
And sadly, this man speaks for many who don’t see any change.
It will never stop
— Bryan (@banzib) June 26, 2018
The idea of fining people for false calls is floating around.
People who phone the police over black people living their lives should be fined and legally required to attend anti-bias training.
— Reunite the hostage families (@vhutcheon) June 25, 2018
When are the police going to start fining these idiots for wasting everyone's time?
— JC (@PAcat15) June 24, 2018
We should be thanking Moore, not calling the police.
“Moore, was honored by the City Council for “bravery and heroism” in 2008 with other firefighters when they jumped into a ravine to save passengers trapped inside an overturned vehicle during a rainstorm, then waded through the canal in search of an ejected 10-month-old baby.”
— Gal Capone (@debpresente) June 24, 2018