Merritt Lake in Oakland, California, has seen some crazy stuff. According to locals, creepy men are jogging there in Speedos and women are walking their cats on leashes. However, people think that a recent video by Michelle Dione has captured the weirdest incident that has ever happened there.
A white woman called the cops to stop a few black folks enjoying a BBQ. "I hear you have a problem with these gentlemen having a barbecue here at the lake. What's going on?" Michelle asked while recording the lady. She responded that it was a non-charcoal grilling area, "It causes extra money from our city to do things when children get injured because of improperly disposed coals." Lake Merritt has six designated barbecue zones ― three that permit charcoal grills and three that don't. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the unidentified woman was actually correct. But it's her attitude and the way she handled the situation that people are debating over the internet.
"My husband was one of the men being harassed at the barbecue. I was up the street from the park and had just finished eating brunch with our daughters," Michelle told Bored Panda. "He texted me a picture of the woman and said 'If I go to jail this is who did it to me.' I immediately called him, asked what was going on. He said she wouldn't leave him or his friend alone for two hours and kept saying they were going to jail for barbecuing. So I asked where in the park he was and immediately walked down there with our daughters."
"I think it is really incumbent on all of us that when we call [the] police, it is for emergency purposes," Oakland City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney said. "I want to encourage people to know when to call the police, when to raise a question of regulations with the city council, maybe there is a passive way to reach out to us."
McElhaney claimed she is not aware of any reports of children being injured by discarded coal, but Dana Riley, a spokeswoman for Oakland’s parks department, told HuffPost that the last time they received a report of a child being burned by discarded coal at the lake was in 2015.
Eventually, Oakland police did arrive at the scene. The officers took a report, both parties claiming they were being harassed. No citations were given and no arrests were made. The group were allowed to continue the barbeque.
"Compared to other stories relating to people of color getting harassed and targeted for various reasons, and the many times we hear about police shootings, I think this one story had a happy ending for many people," Michelle Dione added. "It was not a happy ending for the woman who was harassing the men, but it was for the many people who made the video go viral. The feedback is amazing. The Black community is thanking me for exposing a problem on video that they often deal with but feel like many ignore or do not believe their stories. The White community is thanking me for exposing something that opened their eyes and has given them confidence to deal with harassment whenever they see it."
In response, Oakland residents held a huge cookout on the same site a few days after the controversial events. The backlash spread across the internet as well, transforming the woman into a meme. What do you think about all of this? Let us know in the comments.