White Man Caught Grilling His Black Neighbor in Profane Confrontation: ‘You Don’t Live Here’ – 247 n

White Man Caught Grilling His Black Neighbor in Profane Confrontation: ‘You Don’t Live Here’ – 247 n


Last Wednesday, as Chika Okafor got ready to leave his New York City apartment building, he thought he knew how the night was going to go. Okafor, a 29-year-old producer for the sports news website Bleacher Report, was planning to attend a holiday work party and he was waiting with a friend in the hallway until his ride arrived. That’s when Okafor’s friend opened a door for a resident who was coming into the building carrying several grocery bags. As the man made his way through the first of two doors in the Upper East Side building’s first-floor hallway, Okafor says he and his friend heard the man say, “’Who the f— are these guys?’ “ The man is white. Both Okafor and his friend are black. Okafor did a double-take at the comment, he tells PEOPLE. “I said to my friend, ‘Did this guy really just say what I thought he said?’ ” After setting down his bags, the man confronted Okafor and his friend, who began recording the interrogation on his phone. “So what are you doing in my building?” the man asks them in the video of the Dec. 19 incident. “You don’t live here.” When Okafor’s friend tells him that Okafor lives in the building, the man is unconvinced. “You don’t live here,” he says. “I’ve never seen you before. I’ve lived here for 27 years.” When Okafor, who says he has lived in the building for about a year, calmly asks the man why he is questioning him, the man replies, “Oh, you’re smooth. You’re the smooth king.” The exchange ends when Okafor’s ride arrives and he and his friend exit the building. When the man notices that Okafor’s friend is recording him, he says, “Put it on YouTube!” before quickly adding, “I could give a f— about YouTube!” Soon enough, Okafor did post his friend’s clip online, where it has been viewed more than 1.8 million times — adding the unnamed apartment resident, pejoratively nicknamed “Hallway Harry,” to a list of racist or racially-tinged confrontations between suspicious white people and their black neighbors that were captured on video. “BBQ Becky” called the cops in April about a family holding a cookout in an Oakland, California, park. “Permit Patty” summoned police in July on an 8-year-old girl she claimed was selling water without a permit in her San Francisco neighborhood. As of now, Okafor isn’t going to pursue legal action. But he does want something from his neighbor, he tells PEOPLE. “At the minimum, I think that he owes my friend and I an apology,” he says. He would also like the man to get evicted from the building. “His mindset is dangerous and will lead to future altercations,” Okafor says. “He thinks simply because he’s lived in a building for 27 years means he has the right to harass and confront anyone.” Okafor says the man actually had another altercation that same night, about two hours after Okafor left: “He harassed a couple [a man and woman] and for a while prevented them from entering the building.” The woman, Janah Reynolds, recorded the man confronting her and her husband, who are both white. They had temporarily rented space in the building through Airbnb and the man apparently believed that was illegal, The New York Times reports. Telling Reynolds and her husband to get out of the building, the man says on the recording, “You don’t have an ID to get in this building. You don’t live here.” Reynolds said she called the police, who never came, according to the Times. Attempts to reach Reynolds were not immediately successful. The man’s name has not been made public. PEOPLE’s efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful. Okafor says he told the building manager — who did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment — about his confrontation in the hallway last week but got no help from her. “She told me this was a personal matter and that if I wanted to pursue legal action, to call the police,” he says. When he did speak to the police, “They said that because this is an isolated incident, there’s nothing they can do,” Okafor says. “They said it doesn’t meet the threshold of harassment.” While Okafor is still shaken by the incident, he says, “I’m happy that this guy is getting exposed.” “I’m happy that another incident involving racial profiling is getting some awareness,” he continues. “I think it’s important when these types of incidents happen that they receive some exposure so more people can understand the experiences that people of color go through so that when we do talk about it, the initial reaction is not to doubt or discredit but to seek understanding.”

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