The last few months have seen an onslaught of the same news stories: white people calling the police on black people for no real reason.
Last week, a woman named Camilla Hudson shared a now-viral clip of a CVS employee calling the authorities after she tried to use a coupon in Chicago. Now, a New York resident, Madonna Wilburn, has shared a similar video.
Wilburn states in her post that she began recording after the employee in question, later identified as Ken Dudek, started to demonstrate a “nasty attitude”, and said that he did not like “people like [her]".
He can be heard repeatedly accusing her of “taking advantage of the system” – despite the fact that Wilburn posted various screenshots demonstrating that the digital coupons she was attempting to use were valid, and that she was within her rights to use them.
Elaborating on the situation, she wrote:
I had no coupons in my hand… They are all digital coupons on their app.
Spend $30 on Gain scents and receive $5 off… And other digital coupons ranging from $0.50 to $2 off each of these items, all on their app.
He could not figure it out. [He] told me he hate[s] people like me, [he] told me to shut up.
The scene soon escalates after Dudek repeatedly attempts to write down a manager’s phone number, but seemingly can’t do so due to the nature of the surface he’s writing on.
He then realises that he’s on camera, and swiftly calls the police to report Wilburn for recording him without permission.
Although different US states have their own rules on videotaping, an article last updated in February of this year outlines that New York state law does not define a specific right to privacy.
Essentially, this means that it isn’t illegal to film somebody without their permission, as long as the filming doesn’t take place in a location which would violate their privacy – so changing rooms, or bathrooms.
Wilburn later shared a photograph of an incident number given to her by the Buffalo City Police Department, indicating that no charges were pressed – presumably because she wasn’t doing anything that warranted police presence.
Commenters soon weighed in to point out the obvious: that even if Wilburn was found to be breaking some kind of coupon usage rule, the issue should be dealt with in-house.
These complaints may sound petty, but police officers both in the US and the UK have developed a reputation for occasional violence. On too many occasions, this can lead to death; in fact, just last month a black family was awarded an insulting grand total of $4; father-of-three Gregory Hill Jr was shot fatally through his garage door after neighbours filed a noise complaint.
White people, take note: the police service is not your complaint department.