Uriah Sharp is an 11-year-old Ohio boy who had the police called on him while he was delivering newspapers, his mom says, adding that it’s the boy’s first job.
Sharp is African-American; the case is one of a string of incidents throughout the country in which African-Americans say they were mistreated because of their race when the police were called on them as they engaged in everyday activities. Now Uriah’s mother, Brandie Sharp, has taken to Facebook to criticize the unidentified neighbor who called the cops on her child.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sharp’s Mom Said the Boy ‘Had the Police Called on Him’ as He Delivered Newspapers
Brandie Sharp, Uriah Sharp’s mother, took to Facebook to share the story, where it eventually gained news attention and started to go viral. “My 11year old son got police called on him …because he went back to pick up newspaper WOW,” she wrote in one update.
Sharp shared her original post on July 6, 2018. This is what it reads:
First day of paper route and we are pulled over by police🚔🚔…Sad I cant even teach my son the value of working without someone whispering and looking at us out the side of their eye perhaps because we DON’T ‘look like a person that belongs in their neighborhood.’
Police officer pulls up and ask us questions as if we were intruding in their area. Totally disgusted and disturbed that this kind of behavior still exist.
***My apologies Upper Arlington for bringing my 12 year old African American son into your neighborhood to deliver the paper and make a few dollars on the side…NO HARM INTENDED 😕
I will make sure my boss changes his route.
She included pictures of the boy with the delivery bag. In the photos, he’s wearing a D.A.R.E. shirt for the anti-drug and alcohol program taught in schools.
2. The Mother’s Two Sons Were Delivering a Bag of Newspaper Ads & Uriah’s Great-Grandfather Was the State’s First Black Highway Patrolman
According to an interview she gave with ABC 6, Uriah and Brandie Sharp’s other son, Mycah, 17, were delivering something called “The Bag,” which contains newspaper ads, to Upper Arlington porches.
Uriah went back to “grab” some newspapers because they accidentally delivered some of them to the wrong houses, and that’s when the police showed up, she told the television station.
“I am the mother of the boys that were doing their paper route Friday evening…” Brandie Sharp wrote on a comment thread on Facebook. “…to have police called and be accused is so disheartening…HOW DOES SOMETHING SO HONEST AND HARMLESS get this kind of outcome…I am VERY UPSET my children have to experience something like this…every paper was put on the porch and MY CHILDREN DID NOT REMOVE ANYTHING FROM Anyone’s HOME!…This is insulting and ABSOLUTELY EMBARRASSING…maybe next time more investigation should have been done before we just ACCUSE!”
Brandie Sharp also wrote that her family has a long history of ties to law enforcement. “My grandfather was the first african american highway patrolman …I understand exactly what police officers deal with and have nothing but respect for them,” she wrote on Facebook. His name was Louis Sharp. “I come from strong roots of respect,” wrote Brandie.
She added of Louis Sharp, “he taught us to treat everyone with respect…because your character represents you…this whole situation could of be handled a better way.”
3. The Caller Told Police It ‘Seemed Kind of Suspicious’
The name of the person who called 911 has not been released. However, ABC 6 reports that the caller told police, “It looked like at first they were delivering newspapers or something, but I noticed they were walking up to the houses with nothing in hand and one of them came back with something. I mean, I don’t want to say something was going on, but it just but it just seemed kind of suspicious.”
It didn’t take the police long to dispense with the matter.
“We sent an officer out to take a look at it,” said Officer Bryan McKean to the television station. “When our officer arrived on scene, he very quickly determined very quickly that these individuals were delivering the newspaper.”
Brandie Sharp told NBC 4 that the officer “was like, ‘what are you doing here…are you soliciting?’ I said, ‘no sir I’m not soliciting, I’m delivering papers.’ He said, ‘what papers?’ I showed him the paper. He said, ‘Oh really,’ and sat there for a minute and then pulled off.”
4. Upper Arlington Police Posted About the Matter on Facebook After It Went Viral
Upper Arlington police decided to weigh in on the hue and cry via a Facebook statement. “We have seen some conversations on Facebook relative to a Police response to a report of suspicious activity that turned out to be completely benign, and wish to provide some background on what transpired,” police wrote.
“On Friday evening, UA Police responded to a report of suspicious activity concerning a vehicle and two people on foot near Barrington Elementary. The caller reported seeing one of the people approach a home empty-handed but leave holding something,” the post says.
“The first officer to arrive quickly determined it was a team of people delivering printed advertising materials and reported back that there was no issue. For some context, UA recently enacted a law placing more stringent requirements on the delivery of printed materials, such as advertising packets, to help reduce littering. Deliveries must be made to specific locations, such as on a porch or through a mail slot in the front door. This has changed the patterns of delivery people, since they are required to walk up to each home to correctly deliver these materials. Residents are seeing this change in approach but may not be aware of the new law. If you would like more details, please call Police, at 614-583-5197 or email@example.com.”
5. There Have Been a Series of Cases Throughout the Country in Which Police Were Called on African-Americans
The country has been hit with a series of recent cases in which African-Americans alleged that police were unfairly called on them or that they were unfairly treated for performing mundane tasks.
Stephanie Sebby-Strempel, a former skincare consultant from South Carolina, is accused of assaulting an African-American boy during a tirade at a swimming pool while using racial slurs and allegedly telling the boy and his friends to “get out.” She’s been nicknamed “Pool Patrol Paula” on the Internet.
In other cases, two women dubbed Permit Patty and BBQ Becky were in the news; the first woman, Alison Ettel, was recorded trying to stop an 8-year-old girl from selling water outside her home in San Francisco. The second, Jennifer Schulte, called the police to report a group of black people who were barbecuing in an Oakland park.