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Black Couple Outraged After Neighbour Calls Police On Them

A Black couple in Montclair who say they have been repeatedly harassed by a white neighbour filmed a video of the woman calling police and accusing them of assault.

The video, which has gone viral, begins after an argument erupted Sunday when the woman questioned whether they had a permit for a patio that was being installed.

In the video, other white neighbors immediately come to the couple’s defense and can be heard refuting the woman’s claim.

Online commenters have dubbed the woman “Permit Karen” — Karen now being a pejorative for an entitled, middle-aged white woman — and students organized a protest in front of her home. The commenters say the incident is reminiscent of Amy Cooper and cases of white people calling the police on Black people over minor disputes.

The couple, Fareed Nassor Hayat and Norrinda Brown Hayat, told NJ Advance Media the altercation began when the woman, who lives behind them, demanded the couple produce a permit for the work. The woman did not respond to a request for comment.

They said this is the fourth time she has harassed them over the past two years, including incidents where she asked to see a permit for a tree house they built, told them they needed to move a fence and demanded that lights they hung for a party be removed after the party.

Black Couple Outraged After Neighbour Calls Police On Them

“Essentially, we’re in a position where whenever we do something at our house she feels like it’s necessary that we come okay it with her,” said Fareed Hayat. Both of the Hayats are attorneys and professors. Norrinda is also the Director of the Civil Justice Clinic at Rutgers.

The Hayats said Sunday’s situation escalated after Norrinda Hayat told the woman she was on a work call and would come speak to her afterward. They say she reappeared just minutes later and demanded the contractors stop working. The Hayats said they then told her to leave their property, but the woman wouldn’t go.

That’s when Norrinda Hayat started recording, she said.

When the video picks up, the woman then accuses Fareed of assaulting her, but her account was disputed by neighbors who say they were watching and no such thing happened.

The Hayats shared the video on Facebook and it quickly gained traction and made its way to other social media platforms, including Twitter.

Lisa Korn, who lives across the street from the Hayats and their children, said she saw the entire incident and was appalled by the accusation.

“When I heard that, I was like, oh, no, no, no, that’s not what happened,” Korn told NJ Advance Media. “And this is not the way you handle a dispute. You don’t call the police. Are you kidding? In this climate you called the police? Really?”

Korn can be seen in the video backing away from the woman as she tries to approach, telling her not to come close to her without a mask.

The Hayats said police did arrive and interviewed neighbors. They also said town officials came and agreed they did not need a permit for the work.

Black Couple Outraged After Neighbour Calls Police On Them

They said the woman told police she just wanted to drop the issue, and they agreed to drop it even though they believe she could have been charged with making a false report.

Montclair Police did not respond to a request for comment, but reported the incident in their police blotter, writing, “The dispute was related to work being done on the property of one of the residents. There were no complaints signed by either party involved, however the incident is under investigation at this time.”

“Thank god our neighbors were there,” said Norrinda Hayat. “What if they were different people? What if they hadn’t spoken up? The only thing we can hope to have right now is to catch these kind of activities on film. I didn’t know what was going to happen, so I felt like it would be better to protect ourselves and film.”

Black Couple Outraged After xxNeighbour Calls Police On Them

“It has made the difference in this movement for Black lives,” Fareed Hayat said of cell phone videos. “Things that have been occurring for generations are being captured on video, the community is reacting and there is an evolution that is at a breaking point.”

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