SOLON Ohio (WOIO) - A Solon man said he was racially profiled by a fellow citizen while loading his groceries.
Philip Evans, 35, was loading his groceries into his car Sept. 18 at the Solon Giant Eagle when he noticed a woman pointing her phone at him in the parking lot and later following him.
“There’s a brand-new SUV Infinity, black, and sitting in the parking lot and the guy kept looking around and looking around loading up his groceries,” said a woman in a 911 call.
“What does the male look like that’s driving?” the 911 operator asked the caller. “Uh, tall black gentleman, shorts, T-shirt and he had a mask on,” the caller replied. “He’s going real slow. He’s just acting real funny, loaded up the car and he just kept looking around.”
“I’m like: is this lady videoing me, is she taking pictures of me?” Evans asked.
Solon Police said that woman did call 911 when she didn’t see a license plate. Police said she thought the car might be stolen and followed him.
“I look in my rear view, and I see the same car behind me. I’m like, okay, does this lady have a problem with me...” said Evans.
Evans believes that woman racially profiled him.
“Thinking back the only thing I can think of why she would call the police and say those things is because I was Black in a nice car in this neighborhood,” Evans said.
A few minutes later he was pulled over by Solon Police.
“Like, the police interaction was really good you know? He was just doing his job,” Evans said. “The call came in so, you know, he had to come out.”
But Evans knows that traffic stop could have gone differently.
“It’s scary to think about you know that just because I was getting groceries and I had a nice car somebody saw that and didn’t think I deserved that and that could lead to potentially me being shot and killed, so it’s a scary thought thinking I wasn’t gonna make it home to my kids,” said Evans.
“I hope you get him!” the caller said before hanging up with the 911 operator.
“I heard the recording and the part at the end where she says ‘I hope you get him,’ that like kind of really, kind of really hurts. Like what does she want them to get me for? She didn’t see me do anything wrong,” said Evans.
The father had a message for that woman.
“I hope she learns from it,” said Evans. “I feel like we all have prejudices, but we have to kind of watch that and think on it and not try to act on prejudices and things we don’t know about other people just based on the color of their skin.”
Solon Police said an officer stopped Evans for a plate violation, his temporary plate was in his back window but it was difficult to see because it’s tinted.
He was told to relocate it.