Yet another white woman has called the cops on a Black person simply because they were existing while Black. Svitlana Flom, a wealthy Manhattan socialite and restaurant owner, abused her privilege to call the police on Jana'e Brown, whose Instagram handle is @_brownsugarbaby.
Luckily, Jana'e had the wherewithal to film the encounter and post clips of the phone call to her Instagram page. In the caption, she writes that for 45 minutes, Svitlana Flom approached her and called the cops multiple times because "she was too 'alarmed' that I was sitting 'comfortably' in 'her neighborhood!"
Apparently, the first call was because she thought Jana'e was smoking in public. "But by the third call," she writes, "it was bcuz I was 'threatening her and her children!!"
You can hear Svitlana on the phone saying, "She's pulling the Black card!" She also kept sitting by Jana'e and approaching her even though her kids and their strollers and toys were much farther down the path. She was clearly trying to instigate a confrontation.
"I didn't know who she was," Jana'e, a healthcare worker who lives in that neighborhood, told the Daily News. "She's just a random person, telling me I can't sit here, telling me I can't be here."
Soon, Jana'e's story went viral, garnering the attention of many on Twitter who called for Svitlana to pay for her actions. She was clearly trying to assert her power over Jana'e and hurt her, which is exactly what a police confrontation could have done.
Jana'e said this encounter reminded her of what happened to Christian Cooper in Central Park not a week before. Amy Cooper threatened his life when she called the cops to report him because he told her she should follow the rules and leash her dog.
It's an act of violence to call the cops on a Black person. And to do it during a week where the country is rising up to protest police violence against Black people? That shows us that Svitlana Flom knew exactly what she was doing.
"For me it's like, 'Why do you feel like you're so privileged to tell me anything?'" Jana'e said. "What if the cops come and feel alarmed? Why does this keep happening over and over? I just don't understand it."
"I'm shaking & pregnant" Svitlana Flom calls cops on an African American woman for sitting on a bench in her own neighbourhood. Tells Police she/her kids are threatened & black woman is playing the 'Black Card' https://t.co/x6w5FpXNG0— Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (@SholaMos1) June 4, 2020
Yet our lived experience of racism is denied pic.twitter.com/qXH8KTtszS
Police came to the scene, but they didn't take any action. Jana'e said she stayed on the scene because she didn't do anything wrong. "That's why I stayed," she said. "Because I needed the cops to see. If you want to search me, you can. Because I don't have anything."
Jana'e has hired legal counsel and would like to press charges. "She wanted to prove her point, I'm going to prove mine," she said. "Something has to be done, like she has to come forward and apologize publicly."
Svitlana Flom said that, ever since the story went viral, she's been getting threatening messages. "I want this nightmare to end," she said. But she was the one who started this "nightmare." It's so easy to mind your own business.
Hopefully, Svitlana has learned a lesson about that.