The NYPD responded to a 911 call of a “burglary in process” in an Upper West Side, Manhattan five-story walk-up Friday (April 27). The dispatcher said “somebody was trying to break in the door” with a “possible weapon.” When police showed up, they realized the “suspect” is new tenant, Darren Martin and he was just moving into his new apartment.
Bronx-native Martin told PIX11 his skin color in a gentrified neighborhood might have been the reason for someone to call the police. He went live on social media when the police arrived saying about “six of y’all showed up, rolled up on me.” After an investigation, they found Martin was within his rights as a new tenant.
“I didn’t really think anyone was going to call the cops on me because I mean – I was moving into the building,” Martin said. “As a black man when you’re in an all-white environment, you’re cognizant of that. I have to say I found it kinda symbolic. [It’s] like welcome to the neighborhood.”
Martin worked with the Obama Administration and on Capitol Hill for many years and decided to move back to New York City after securing a job with the city. He signed a year-long lease at the apartment building, so he’s not going anywhere. He said this is a teachable moment for his fellow neighbors.
“The broader message to everyone is get to know folks before you make these assumptions,” he said. “When you make that call there’s no turning back and it couldn’t ended very differently.”