Man believes race prompted neighbor's complaint

August 7, 2008 5:37:17 PM PDT
A Chapel Hill man says he can't stand on a corner in his neighborhood because of the color of his skin.

He was shocked when two officers showed up to question him after a neighbor called police.

Cell phone reception is spotty in Allen Baunsi's Lake Forest neighborhood. That's why he headed outside to make a call.

"I wasn't on anyone's property," Baunsi said. "I was on the phone talking for a good half hour."

What happened next came as a shock.

Two Chapel Hill police officers showed up and asked him for ID. They said a frightened neighbor called for help.

"I felt hurt that someone would just judge by my appearance that I was up to no good" Baunsi said.

Fearing his race may be the reason and that he might be stopped again, Baunsi wrote a letter to his neighbors. He informed them he's a Dartmouth College student who is home for the summer and coaches football at a local high school.

"I'm a resident here, and that's my right," Baunsi said. "That's my right to talk on the phone."

Baunsi said police suggested he walk up the street to a more public place to avoid alarming his neighbors.

"I just thought it was ridiculous that I would have to leave my own neighborhood to talk on my phone," Baunsi said.

It was all because of a phone call to his girlfriend. He never thought it would cause so much trouble.

His letter is now posted on several Websites, sparking outrage from some readers. Baunsi also wrote a letter to the Chapel Hill Police chief to make sure officers know he will be back on the corner.

"Don't judge a book by its cover," Baunsi said. "Don't assume someone on a corner for a long time is up to no good."

Chapel Hill Police say no report was filed, meaning officers determined Baunsi had a legitimate reason for being outside.


Load Comments