Black Airbnb Guests Detained After Neighbor Calls 911

Group plans to sue
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 7, 2018 6:30 PM CDT
Black Airbnb Guests Detained After Neighbor Calls 911
Stock photo   (Getty Images / aijohn784)

A lawsuit is planned by three black people briefly detained by police as they left a rental property in Southern California after a 911 caller wrongly reported they might be burglars, the AP reports. The Rialto Police Department said Monday that it has received notice of legal action by the three, who were leaving an Airbnb rental with their luggage when a neighbor called police on April 30. Police said they were polite during the 22-minute interaction. But one of the renters, Kells Fyffe-Marshall, wrote on social media that they were "surrounded" by seven police cars and told to put up their hands, and that police locked down the neighborhood and told the group a helicopter was tracking the incident.

"About 20 minutes into this misunderstanding it escalated almost instantly" when a sergeant arrived, she wrote. "He explained they didn’t know what Airbnb was. He insisted that we were lying about it and said we had to prove it. We showed them the booking confirmations and phoned the landlord... because they didn’t know what she looked like on the other end to confirm it was her.. they detained us - because they were investigating a felony charge - for 45 minutes while they figured it out." She says the police told them the neighbor called 911 because the group didn't wave to her as she stood on her lawn while they loaded up the car. This is just the latest in a string of similar incidents including those at a Starbucks, an LA Fitness, and a golf club.

(Read more Airbnb stories.)

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