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Police Called on Black Business Owner in San Francisco

The owner of a high-end lemonade stand in San Francisco said he was approached by police officers demanding proof that he wasn’t breaking in, all because he is black.

Viktor Stevenson, owner of Gourmonade, says he was talking on the phone when four police officers approached him when figuring out a bug in the security system Thursday, five days after opening up his business in the Mission District.

“The cops approached me, and I say to them, he is about three feet away, I say, ‘oh, did the security system go off? If it did, my apologies, I am on the phone with the company now.’ They go to say, ‘no,’ [accusing me that] you are breaking into the store,” he said.

Stevenson said he has been getting his store ready for the last six months and people in the area know him. However, he said police immediately asked to see his hands, which were in his pockets and prove it what his store.

“I said, ‘yeah absolutely, here is my key,'” Stevenson said. “Took my key out, opened my door, closed my door. ‘Are we ok? Are we good to go?’ He said, ‘no, can I see your ID?'”

Stevenson recorded the aftermath of situation, which follows similar high-profile incident here in the Bay Area, like BBQ Becky and Permit Patty. He was told that a neighbor called police and though he admits officers were correct to ask for his ID to prove ownership, he insists this was motivated by race.

“I am standing here at my business, on the phone, there is no way that looks suspicious. I am sorry. A three year old would be like he is not doing anything,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson says that as a Black entrepreneur, these types of incidents just prove that his reality is different from others when out on the streets even in a city as diverse as San Francisco.

His wife says this situation has her on alert and that even when her husband goes to work, he is a potential target.

“I’m just sitting at home, just thinking about, would he be home safe? Or will I get a phone call if something happens. You never know. It’s just terrifying for me,” Santhia Stevenson said.

Stevenson says he won’t let this rest. He wants to use this as way to get the community to do something to bring about a change in policy. He has already met with members of City Hall and plans to discuss this with Mayor London Breed.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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