New Jersey GOP official calls 911 for 9-year-old black girl catching lanterns

Bobbi Wilson, a fourth-grade student in Caldwell, New Jersey, was just testing a homemade invasive species spray from lanterns on her street when a neighbor — a former Republican public servant — called the cops.

“On the morning of October 22, our neighbor [Gordon Lawshe] called the police, identified himself and reported, “There’s a little black woman walking around, spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees.” I don’t know what she’s doing, it scares me,’ and added that she was wearing a hoodie,” Wilson’s mother, Monique Joseph, said at a mayor and council meeting on November 1, according to local media The Progrès.

Wilson, 9, learned about regional ‘see, smash’ campaigns to help stop the spread of lanterns while writing a school paper about their environmental impact. After finding a non-toxic spray recipe on TikTok, she went out to test it — only to have Lawshe’s plea scare her into going out again, according to BuzzFeed News.

Lawshe, 71, a former local councilor, co-director and treasurer of the Caldwell Republican Committee and director of memberships for the Caldwell Community Center, told police they couldn’t ‘miss’ the black ‘little woman’ – who wore a “balaclava.”

Monique Joseph said her daughter was

Monique Joseph said her daughter was “scared to go out” following the incident.

“Racism, intentional or not, is still racism,” Joseph said at the town council meeting. “Hearing my neighbor use trigger words that have resulted in the death of too many black and brown children and adults at the hands of the police: ‘Black’, ‘Hoodie’, ‘I’m scared’.

Joseph’s other daughter, Hayden, 13, also spoke at the meeting. She said Wilson wasn’t even on Lawshe’s property when he called 911, that he’s known their family for ages — and has been their neighbor for almost eight years now.

Hayden added that they were the only black family in the neighborhood. She said her little sister was aware of “all these other black children and adults on the news killed by police officers” and was “immediately spooked” when the police arrived.

“She wasn’t just doing something amazing for our environment, she was doing something that made her feel like a hero,” Hayden said. “I can confidently assure you that Bobbi won’t forget that.”

Hayden Wilson (on the podium) said her sister Bobbi was

Hayden Wilson (on the podium) said her sister Bobbi was

Hayden Wilson (at the podium) said her sister Bobbi was “immediately spooked” by the police.

“My neighbor’s words put my daughter in danger,” Joseph said. “His words and actions were unacceptable, and the impact of the aftermath of this incident will not be kept secret. My 9-year-old daughter was afraid to leave her house the next day.

Lawshe’s attorney, Greg Mascera, claimed his client was not racially profiling Wilson when he called 911. [her daughter is now] fear of the cops is absurd.

In 2020, Children’s National Hospital reported that black and Hispanic children are significantly more likely to be shot by police than white children.


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