Two residents in Davis, CA questioned a Vietnamese American man visiting his parents for being in their neighborhood. Khoa Lam, a physician, says the two threatened to call the police on him.
“I was walking around this path here, which is a public sidewalk, and I was Facetiming my wife in Philadelphia,” Lam said to KCRA3. “I was absorbed in my conversation, my headphones on when I turned around and I saw this lady who was standing right there.”
When a resident started questioning Lam, he said he felt threatened and took out his cellphone to begin filming.
In the video, the woman asked Lam, “Do you know someone here?”
Lam explained that he was visiting his parents. In a Facebook post, Lam said the woman repeatedly told him that he needs to leave and he doesn’t belong here.
Shortly after, another resident confronted Lam and said he should not be filming people’s homes. Lam filmed this conversation also.
The resident is seen in Lam’s video on the phone, telling police dispatch Lam is taking photos of people’s homes.
Lam responded, “I was not taking anyone’s photos.”
Both residents are White, and did not speak about the incident on-camera. However, the woman told KRCA3 that her concern was not race-related. She said she is friendly to people of all ethnicities.
The Davis Police Department is investigating the incident, but is not part of a criminal investigation, reports KCRA3.
Although Lam told officials he believes he was racially profiled, he said the Davis police was not sympathetic toward his situation when they arrived to the scene.
Lam explained on a Facebook post, “This officer, Morgan Hatcher #220, felt compelled to lecture me on ‘perspective'” as she tried to explain to Lam that the residents called the cops because they were unsure of what to do.
Lam asked if he could talk to the man who profiled him in front of the officers.
In his Facebook post he explained what happened after that, “Her fellow officer told me that if I were to confront those people later tonight and they ended up calling the cops again, ‘it’s not going to be…’ I said, ‘What? Not going to be what? Not going to be pretty?’ She then accused me of putting words in her mouth.”
The Davis police reported they are investigating the incident to understand all perspectives of the situation.
The incident happened in the Moore Housing Community, which released a statement after the incident stating they are “committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.” They also said they contacted the Yolo County Conflict Resolution Center to intervene and help resolve the situation.
In a Facebook post, Lam said, “I’d like to say that I would highly recommend against harassment of these individuals (in any form) in the lens of social justice. That would be the exact opposite of my goals in bringing up this incident. I just hope this serves as a learning opportunity for all parties involved, including myself.”
According to Comic Sands, Lam submitted a claim against the officers for “racial profiling, bias-by-proxy, discrimination and harassment” based on the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015.
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