Caldwell was the location where Gordan Lawshe reported a “small black woman strolling and spraying things on the sidewalks and trees.”
“I don’t know what the heck she’s doing,” he continued, according to CNN-obtained body cam footage. “Frightens me however.”
When the constable came, he discovered that the “small black woman” was really 9-year-old Bobbi Wilson, who was attempting to exterminate the invasive species.
As the officer approaches, she shows him the jug she is using to capture the pests.
After calling the police on her 9-year-old daughter in their Caldwell, New Jersey neighborhood, Monique Joseph spoke with the officer.
West Caldwell Police Department
The police then informs Monique Joseph’s mother that their neighbor has phoned.
“Are you serious?” Joseph asks the police, only seconds after informing him that their neighbor, a longtime local lawmaker, “could have simply rung the doorbell.”
“Yes, I suppose he saw, but I am uncertain. “I’m uncertain,” the cop responds. Clearly, you are next-door neighbors.
The officer informs the child that she is “clearly alright.” The 9-year-old then inquires whether she is in danger, to which he replies, “No.”
It is unknown when the incident occurred.
The little girl’s attempts to eliminate the invasive species were covered in the local newspaper.
West Caldwell Police Service
The invasive spotted lanternfly is detrimental to vegetation and trees.
New Jersey has a “Stomp It Out” campaign to encourage residents to eradicate the invasive, plant-harming spotted lanternfly.
Wilson has made it her duty to kill as many spotted lanternflies as possible after learning about the threat they bring to the trees and plants in her town. Even her hometown newspaper, The Progress, published a story on her extraordinary efforts.
After conversing with Joseph and her daughter, the officer approaches Lawshe and tells that the small girl was capturing and killing lanternflies.
“What a freak, huh?” Lawshe’s voice may be heard in the video.
Bobbi Wilson, age 9, and her family are visiting Yale University.
Twitter / Ijeoma Opara, Dr.
Since then, the mother of the young girl has spoken out against unintentional racism, hoping to use the incident as a teaching moment.
Twitter / Dr. Ijeoma Opara
The girl’s mother addressed the incident at a city council meeting on October 22, telling borough officials, “Racism, whether intentional or not, is still racism.”
The words of my neighbor put my daughter in danger. His words and actions were reprehensible, and the consequences of this incident will not be concealed. The next day, my 9-year-old daughter was afraid to step outside her front door. She feared that her neighbor, whom she knows, would call the police on her for an unknown reason, Joseph told The Daily Beast.
Joseph stated that she wanted this to be a “teaching moment” on racial bias for the community. Since then, she and her daughter have toured the West Caldwell Police Department and discussed race relations.
She also requested a meeting with her neighbor after the incident, but Lawshe never responded. An attorney he retained stated to Daily Beast that her claim that her daughter now fears police is “absurd” and that he was not engaging in racial profiling.