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Police release bodycam footage showing another side to their confrontation with black Airbnb guests

Bodycam footage from an encounter with four Airbnb guests shows a very different version of a story that has gone viral. Source: Screen capture of KCAL-TV broadcast of police body camera footage. Link: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2018/05/08/rialto-police-release-body-camera-video-confrontation-black-filmmakers/

Police have released bodycam footage from a confrontation with black filmmakers, showing a very different side to a story that has gone viral on social media.

What happened?

On April 30, police showed up to question Bob Marley's granddaughter, Donisha Prendergast, and three other filmmakers who were staying at an Airbnb in Rialto, California.

The police had been called by a neighbor who later said that she had no idea that the residence was being rented out as an Airbnb.

The police prevented the group from leaving until they could confirm that the owner of the house had allowed them to stay there.

What did the original video show?

Prendergast posted two videos from the encouter on Instagram with the caption:

Be Love. So much things to say right now.... Got surrounded by the police for being black in a white neighbourhood. Smh. I’m sad and irritated to see that fear is still the first place police officers go in their pursuit to serve and protect, to the point that protocol supersedes their ability to have discernment. Many have suffered and died in moments like these. That’s a crazy reality check. Give Thanks for life, and the ability to stand our ground. We are stronger together. Use your voice collectively.

In another video of the incident, one of the women can be heard saying "it's a code black," suggesting that race was the only reason behind the police presence.

Prendergast's attorney has suggested that they might be seeking legal action against the city.

What did the new bodycam footage show?

Rialto police released bodycam footage of the incident, which they said proves that the police acted responsibly. In the footage, Pendergast and the three other Airbnb guests are seen moving around and even joking with the police officers.

The police also insisted that race did not play a factor in the incident.

The neighbor who called the police said that the race of the four people did not influence her phone call either. Instead, she said, she was alarmed when she saw people she did not recognize carrying luggage out of her neighbor's house, especially since there has been a recent rise in crime in the  neighborhood.

"At no time during the encounter did our officers use any form of force," interim Rialto Police Chief Mark Kling said during a news briefing.

Kling also said that social media can be "a real challenge" for police departments.

"It's because of the inaccurate information that just is like lighting a wildfire," he said.

Residents who saw the bodycam footage seemed to agree.

“I think that this video really showed the fact that people are too quick to rush to judgment not getting all the facts in first,” Rialto resident Harry Bratton told KCAL-TV, the local CBS affiliate.

One last thing…
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