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This story might be added to the "You Wouldn't Believe This Is I Made This Up" file.
A married couple from Africa move into a rural exurban location in Metro Atlanta after their son purchases a vacant foreclosure property.
The red neck neighbors see activity in the house and believe that their new neighbors are actually thieves seeking to strip the house of its valuables.
The interdict the people in the house, not believing that they are the rightful owners due to lack of paperwork. They force them at gun point to submit to prove their identity as the Newton County Sheriff is called.
When the couple could not provide paperwork attesting to the ownership of the house, they are arrested.
NOW the tide has turned.
The real estate agent says that the sheriff acted improperly in arresting the new home owners. Had they bothered to contact the agent while on the scene - all of this could have been resolved.
The good ole boy neighbors are now in the Newton County Jail - charged with "false imprisonment" and a number of other crimes.
In the context of the significant number of vacant houses that have been stripped of copper, HVAC units and appliances - I can understand that a neighbor, seeking to defend the integrity of his community would keep a watch on what appears to be suspicious activity.
The first response should have been to call the police and get a tag number for the vehicle as they waited.
I could even accept the act of walking over to the property, with a gun that is holstered (this is a rural area after all), observing the response of the people and interrogating them as to what they are doing.
The act of engaging them, guns drawn and pointed at their head was way over the top.
If there was a time for profiling - this was it. No elderly couple is likely to be seen stripping a house in the middle of the day. The profile for this are young males OF ANY COLOR. The long series of news reports will attest to this fact.
Did RACE play a part in this entire exchange? NO DOUBT.
Of course the sight of an unknown Black man added to the suspicion. (His wife appears to be a White woman with an accent). I can only speculate what the good ole boys would have done if a White couple had been seen doing the very same thing. They would have been queried but not as aggressively with guns drawn.
The bigger concern at this point is about post-conflict relations.
The new neighbors surely are angered at being treated the way they were.
The good ole boys in jail are probably angered that they are now in jail and likely (but illogically) blame the new neighbors for their predicament.
The question for the RACISM CHASERS is - Is the fact that an apparent "racial incident" happened at the hands of two individuals SUPERIOR to the eventual response and correction by the government which arrested the two Good Ole Boys who were said to have acted in an extrajudicial manner? (or to cut to the chase - Is "The Law" greater than "White Supremacy" in your mind?)
Assuming that they will retain the house - the larger community and the churches should sponsor some community event to turn this into a more positive outcome.
I don't know about that specific community in Newton County but as a whole it is diverse.
The racial makeup of the county was 55.27% White, 45.21% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.72% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.58% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. 1.87% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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