The police were called on a group of African-American children mowing a lawn… but this story actually has a happy ending!
When Lucille Holt-Colden spotted 12-year-old Reggie Fields and his friends outside a store with a bunch of lawn-mowing equipment, she was impressed and invited them to come back to her house and mow her lawn.
She even went live on Facebook to talk about it. It was an inspiring moment to see a bunch of young entrepreneurs working together to earn some money. But, as we’ve come to expect in the United States, if there are black people doing something harmless, the police probably won’t be far behind.
Yup, a next-door neighbor called the police because she believed the kids – who were all between 8 and 12 – were accidentally mowing some of her lawn in addition to her neighbors. Holt-Colden told the New York Times: “If they would have been four white children, the police would not have been called. A lot of it is racially motivated.”
And you watch the news, so you don’t need me to tell you that the U.S. has seen a string of viral incidents of the police being called on black people taking place in innocuous activities like Barbecuing, selling water on the street, hanging out in a Starbucks, napping in a college dorm, etc. etc. etc.
Also, as usual, the person who called the police claims it was not racially motivated.
Neighbor Linda Krakora – dubbed “Lawnmower Linda” on Facebook – told the New York Times: “The police were not called on the young boy — the police were called on the garbage I have next door. We called the police to ask the woman to have the kids stop mowing on our property because we can’t talk to her. I don’t have an issue with color or I would have moved years ago.”
Holt-Colden says Krakora has called the police on her multiple times, once when her kids were having a snowball fight, and another time when one of her children was crying during a punishment.
So. Uh. We’ll deal with the issue of physical punishment for children another time, but needless to say, having a portion of your lawn mistakenly mowed probably doesn’t require police involvement.
And calling the police on little kids isn’t just rude, it could also be dangerous.
All you have to do is take a look at the frequency with which young black men in the U.S. are shot and killed by police to recognize that making that call when it’s not necessary could actually be putting innocent lives in danger.
But let’s focus on something really positive that came out of this story. Which is that Reggie’s business is booming.
12-year-old Reggie Fields runs his own business page on Facebook, and “Mr. Reggie’s Lawn Cutting Service” is getting a ton of business since he went viral.
Reggie takes appointments for his services and he guarantees he’ll be on time. A GoFundMe to support Reggie’s business has already raised over $40,000, and according to Reggie’s mother Brandy, he has his sights set on expansion.
Says Brandy – “He wants to do it all year round. He wants to rake leaves. He wants to snow-blow. He wants to do it all. He said something about opening up a store that sells parts. He has his mind set.”
Brandy even acknowledges that having the police called on him might end up being a benefit to Reggie in the long run. Of the neighbors who called the police, she said: “I want to go over there and introduce myself. I want to thank them because they gave my son exposure, but I want them to learn to be open-minded.”
That might be easier this time around. Linda Krakora has avoided much of the public shaming faced by BBQ Becky and Permit Patty, and looking at photos of Reggie and his friends it’s genuinely hard not to root for them. Even a police officer visited Reggie to pass on positive messages of support their department had received about him.
-What do you guys think of the story? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.