Friday, August 31, 2018

FOIA: "BBQ Becky's" viral 911 call made public OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU)

#BBQBecky

KTVU has obtained the 911 audio from an incident at Lake Merritt that erupted into a national controversy involving a white woman -- since nicknamed “BBQ Becky” -- calling police on a black family using a charcoal grill.

KTVU 2 Investigates obtained the two phone calls through a California Public Records Act request that was initially denied by Oakland Police.

In the first phone call, the woman who identifies herself as Jennifer Schulte tells the dispatcher,
“I’d like to report that someone is illegally using a charcoal grill in a non-designated area in Lake Merritt Park near Cleveland Cascade. I’d like it dealt with immediately so that coals don’t burn more children and we have to pay more taxes.”

The dispatcher asks for a description of the person Schulte is calling about, and whether she wants the police to make contact with her when they arrive. She says yes. The call lasts less than two minutes.

However, the follow up 911 call placed by Schulte about two hours later takes a much different tone. Michelle Snider, the woman who took the original cell phone video of the incident that went viral, can be heard in the background.

The dispatcher – who is not the same one who answered the original call – seems confused about the situation and asks Schulte, “Who’s yelling in the background? Why is the person yelling? To panic over a barbecue? I don’t understand.”

Schulte responds “I don’t know” and dispatcher further asks if she can walk away from the situation, but she replies that Snider is following her.

The voice of Snider and other unidentified people in the background can be heard through much of the call, but their exact words are not always clear.

About a third of the way through the second 911 call, the dispatcher asks for Schulte’s name but she is reluctant to provide it or a description of herself when asked. Eventually she tells the dispatcher she is wearing a dark navy blue sweatshirt and jeans, and that she has shoulder-length brown hair. When the dispatcher asks for her race and age she says, “My race doesn’t matter.”

The dispatcher responds, “It does matter. How are we going to find you? Just any lady? Are you black or are you white?”

Schulte: “It doesn’t matter.. I want the police to come I’ve been waiting two hours for them.”

Dispatcher: “How are they going to find you?”

Schulte: “They usually call your cell phone when they’re here.”

Dispatcher: “I’m talking to you right now. Have you ever been to John George?”

Schulte: “What’s John George?”

Dispatcher: “It’s a mental facility.”

Schulte: “No!”

Dispatcher: “Ok, then. Please answer my question. They’re coming to you right now.”

Schulte continues to refuse to answer and the dispatcher tells her she’s going to hang up, before Schulte finally provides the information. When asked if the people she is reporting have a gun or a knife, she tells the dispatcher she doesn't know.


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