MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis real estate investor inspecting a house he was purchasing says he was harassed by a neighbor who called police on him.
But the neighbor he accused of harassing him because he is black says he was acting suspiciously at a vacant property known to attract crime — and she wasn’t the one who dialed the police.
Michael Hayes’ video has been viewed nearly 2 million times on YouTube since it was posted May 5.
Hayes says he was looking at a house he had under contract to buy near the University of Memphis. He put a sign in the yard, waved at a woman next door, then began pulling a board off the door, he says.
That’s when she yelled at him that he couldn’t do that and threatened to call police, he said. He began rolling on his cellphone camera as two Memphis Police officers arrived.
“This is what we go through,” Hayes says to the camera. “Young black man out here trying to do what’s right, and we get the police called on us. This hadn’t been the first time I done seen this.”
But the neighbor Hayes is seen arguing with in the video told a different story when reached Wednesday.
Tiffiany Albert said she knows the owner and takes care of the lawn. Hayes, she claimed, wouldn’t show her paperwork or a business card until police showed up.
She also says the vacant house is a hot bed for crime, so she was worried when she woke up to the sound of the boards being pulled off.
And she says she’s not racist — she’s Spanish and her boyfriend is black.
The Memphis Police Department, whose officers are seen in the video explaining to Albert that Hayes had a right to be on the property, released a statement saying the video shows the officers responding to a complaint in a professional way.
“We are thankful to Mr. Hayes for recording a positive interaction with MPD officers and for sharing the true image of what our officers represent,” the department said.