Friday night started off pretty unremarkably for Jordan McDowell. The 22-year-old college student was on a quest to buy some Sour Patch Kids, so he made a stop at a local convenience store. But after perusing some of the aisles, he started to get the feeling that someone was watching him.
"She had been in the corner the whole time watching," McDowell told KRQE.
What by all accounts should have been a routine trip to the store suddenly took a scary turn: Out of nowhere, the clerk of the store called him “sketchy.” Then she picked up a phone and dialed 911.
“The first thing that popped in my mind absolutely was just discrimination,” McDowell said.
McDowell pulled out his phone and started recording. While he filmed the clerk, he watched her tell the cops, “I want him out of the store right now. Because he’s arrogant, because he’s black.”
“Oh, so I’m arrogant because I’m black?” McDowell shot back.
It's just the latest ugly example of a person of colour having to deal with someone calling the cops on them for essentially just living their life—from swimming in their neighborhood pool to setting up a picnic in the park.
“The only thing I felt at that small moment was rage," McDowell told KRQE. “There's nothing right about this, there's nothing right to call the police on someone just because of their skin tone.”
Fortunately, the cop who showed up to the store in Santa Fe, New Mexico, seemed to understand that. McDowell told KRQE the officer never asked for his ID, and—after realizing he wasn’t guilty of anything but having a sweet tooth—left the store. The clerk has denied mentioning McDowell’s race to the cops—despite the fact that she was caught on video doing just that—and while the store manager called what she did “unacceptable,” there’s no sign that she’ll face any repercussions for what, pretty clearly, was straight-up racism.
Thankfully, the clerk’s 911 call didn’t wind up putting McDowell in danger—but it was an altogether different story for Trayvon Martin, who was somehow deemed "suspicious" after a quick trip to the convenience store for a bag of Skittles.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.