A black former White House staffer to President Obama had the police called on him for burglary while moving into his new New York City apartment.
A neighbor called 911 to report that someone who had a weapon or large tool was trying to break in. They complained about someone opening and banging doors.
Martin said he felt he was racially profiled by whoever made the call that caused a half-dozen officers to come and question him.
'“I don’t know if they watched me or saw me, through a peephole and decided to call the police and if they were, in fact, watching me,” Martin told the Post. “What I do know is true is that they made a call, a very egregious call that I think was based on profiling.”
Martin documented the incident on video and shared it on Twitter.
“The plan was to do this today in daylight, recording all the pomp that comes along with such a move,” Martin tweeted. “Well, life and work happens and you end up having to move on a Friday night at 11pm, and unexpectedly, you find yourself instead recording a very unfortunate circumstance.”
I was happy to move back to NYC and into my new apt in the UWS, near Harlem. The plan was to do this today in daylight, recording all the pomp that comes along with such a move. Well, life and work happens and you end up having to move on a Friday night at 11pm, and unexpectedly, pic.twitter.com/D16sHCEI7i— Darren D. Martin (@MartinDarrenD) April 28, 2018
you find yourself instead recording a very unfortunate circumstance. I lie when I say "unexpectedly." I partly expected this once I added up all the factors: I'm a Black man, late at night, moving valuables around in a gentrifying neighborhood. See, this checklist is something— Darren D. Martin (@MartinDarrenD) April 28, 2018
Martin and his friend were unpacking his U-Haul truck late.
“Out of necessity, I decided to bring things in, but if it was an opportunity for me to do it another time I would have,” Martin said. “You don’t want to put yourself in that situation where you’re doing everything right but because of how you look, it could get you arrested or worse. So you avoid those, if you’re trying to live your life.”
The officers began questioning him, Martin said. He told them he was a new resident but did not have his ID with him. The officers wouldn’t let him go to his apartment on the fifth floor, the Post reported.
Martin said that three officers went upstairs and let themselves into his unlocked apartment before concluding there was no burglary taking place.
Another set of New York Police Department officers arrived later on in the evening responding to a similar call.
“I knew they were here for me,” Martin said of the police showing up. “You just know.”
Martin, who is now working as an aide in the New York City government, said on Twitter that he had a "lingering pit" in his stomach over how his neighbors viewed him.
"Call the police on this Black man who DEFINITELY doesn't live here," Martin tweeted. "The man who worked for President Obama and now serves his fellow New Yorkers."
But the next & lingering pit in my stomach came from how my my neighbors viewed me. How they officially welcomed me into the building. Call the police on this Black man who DEFINITELY doesn't live here. The man who worked for President Obama and now serves his fellow New Yorkers.— Darren D. Martin (@MartinDarrenD) April 28, 2018
He said next time he'd wear a suit and used the hashtag #MovingWhileBlack.
Yeah, him. I gotta say, moving up a 5th floor walk up is tough, but each of those 100 plus steps becomes increasingly grueling with the thought that you're feared or just not wanted in the building.— Darren D. Martin (@MartinDarrenD) April 28, 2018
I guess next time I'll wear a suit.#MovingWhileBlack
The incident follows nationwide outrage last month after two black men were arrested for sitting inside a Philadelphia Starbucks. The two ended up facing no charges.