A mixed race family was followed by a white woman who grabbed them, intimidated them and told the group “you don't belong here”.
31 year-old Lauren Milewski approached 30 year-old Essex Cook as he and his family strolled through Berkeley, California.
Assuming she was walking so close to him because his group were occupying a large portion of the pavement, he politely offered to let her pass them. After declining, she began to harass them.
She is captured on video saying:
You don't belong here. Get out of Berkeley. Get out of here. You don't belong anywhere
Essex said the woman appeared to be focused on him when spouting her vile remarks, thinking this was because of his dark skin tone.
During the incident, Essex's girlfriend and his cousin tried to de-escalate the incident, but instead they were physically attacked, with his cousin alleging that Milewski grabbed her hair and dress before hitting her.
Elexia, Essex’s cousin, says most passers-by chose to ignore them.
We were so loud and people were walking by not even making a noise, trying not to look at us, acting like they didn't even notice.
It just made me feel very uncomfortable.
Cook said that he was initially stressed when police did arrive, thinking they might also be prejudiced and therefore believe anything Milewski said over their version of events.
But finally a white family did intervene and called the police on the woman. They also waited until the police arrived to they could back up Cook’s story.
Milewski was eventually arrested and charged with public intoxication and violating probation for an existing theft charge.