MARIETTA, Ga. – A Marietta man babysitting two children said he was the target of racial prejudice, after a woman approached him with concern that he had two white children in his car.
“Got these little kids scared,” said Corey Lewis. “This lady is following us.”
Lewis and the two children were at a Walmart gas station when a woman drove up and asked him if the kids were “okay,” according to the police report. She asked to speak with the children. Lewis refused and left the gas station – at which point he said the woman started following him.
“She said, ‘Something is weird here,’ and I said, ‘I assure you, we are fine’,” Lewis said.
She reportedly followed him home when he refused to let her speak with the children. Then, she called police.
“Just frozen in fear,” Addison said. “I had no idea what was happening.”
Lewis live-streamed the incident on Facebook, calling it “babysitting while black.”
LISTEN TO THE 911 CALL:
According to the police report, the woman followed him and called police to report a “suspicious person.” The officer said the woman called police but did not stay on the scene. Police approached Lewis, who said he runs an after-school program and day care for kids, called Inspired by Lewis. He said the organization teaches kids with special needs and helps parents with after-school teaching and other activities.
Lewis told police he was dropping off the two children, 10-year-old Addison and 6-year-old Nicholas, at their home after taking them out to lunch. The kids confirmed the story and said they knew Lewis and he takes care of them sometimes while their parents are at work.
“All because I have two kids in the back seat that do not look like me, this lady has taken it upon herself to say that she’s going to take my plate down and call the police,” Lewis told NBC.
Lewis said he was shocked and angry when police arrived and began asking questions. And the parents of the children are just as frustrated.
“He was doing us a favor,” said Dana Mango, the children’s mother. “How they ended up on the side of the road being spoken to by police was just something I couldn’t wrap my head around.”
Lewis now just hopes that his experience will educate others.
“At the end of the day, just because someone does not look how you prefer for them to look through your eye-lenses doesn’t mean they’re a bad person,” he said.
Police haven’t identified the woman involved. As for Lewis, he’s a family friend of the Parker family and said he would babysit for them again – something the family also looks forward to.
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