Son Begs Father Not to Call 911 and Racially Profile Black Man
|thenorthstar||Jul 10, 2019|
A white man was caught on video calling the police on a Black man who was waiting for his friend outside of a San Francisco building. The son of the man calling the police, who was later identified as YouTube executive Christopher Cukor, begged his father to stop.
Wesly Michel, a software engineer, was waiting for his friend on July 4 when Cukor and his son approached him. In a three-and-a-half-minute long video, Cukor questions Michel and demands that he call his friend on the call box to have them come down to “get you.”
Michel, 35, tells Cukor that he does not have to do that and says to Cukor, “You can just walk away.” Cukor then grabs his phone from his pocket and calls the police. Cukor’s young son begs his father not to call the police on Michel to no avail.
Michel then reminds Cukor that he is being recorded and notes that he will become the “next person on TV” like the countless others who have gone viral for calling the police on Black people for doing everyday things, such as working out at a gym or going to a community pool.
“You’re just gonna be the next person on TV, just remember that and you have your son with you,” Michel says.
Cukor tells police that Michel is a “trespasser” who “tailgated” into the building as he was walking out. His son continues to plead with him, “Dad, don’t. Please go. Daddy go. It’s the better; I agree with him, daddy.”
The boy begins to cry as Cukor tells police that Michel “appears to be African American.” Michel helps him by telling Cukor his age and what he’s wearing. The crying boy tells Cukor, “Daddy, I don’t like this. Let’s go.”
“Listen to your son, walk away,” Michel says. “I will stop this. I will stop the recording.”
Michel’s friend shows up as Cukor continues to speak with police. “Told you. Let’s go now,” the boy tells his father. “Daddy, look what you’ve gotten us into. Let’s go!”
Cukor asks the resident if they are actually Michel’s friend. He then ends his call with police, telling them that Michel is “actually here with a resident.”
Michel continues to record, telling Cukor, “Now you’re online forever.” He posted the video, which has garnered more than 1.4 million views on his Facebook page.
“Unfortunately this incident mirrors the experience that African Americans endure daily where we are questioned on whether we belong,” Michel said in a statement to CNN. “I videotaped this incident to protect myself and to support my story should police get involved.”
He added: “I believe that ultimately everyone wants to be seen for who they are and not prejudged. I’m an American, a brother, a son, and an ambitious Engineer who loves to code and wants to greatly contribute to the tech world in (San Francisco), a city that I love.”
Cukor was soon identified as an executive for YouTube, according to Essence. But as the video went viral, Cukor deleted his social media accounts. Screenshots from his LinkedIn profile confirm his position in Device Partnerships on the video sharing platform.
YouTube and Google, which owns YouTube, have not immediately responded to The North Star’s request for comment on the situation.
San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) said in a statement to The North Star that officers responded to the scene at around 4:04 p.m. Officers spoke to both parties, SFPD said. "During the investigation it was determined by the officers that no crime had been committed," SFPD told The North Star, "Both parties went their separate ways."
While SFPD did not reference the incident specifically, the department did tweet a reminder that 911 should only be used in emergencies. SFPD asked that all police non-emergency calls be made to (415) 553-0123.
Although it does not excuse Cukor’s behavior, Essence noted that Cukor’s 67-year-old father Peter was killed in his Berkeley, California driveway by a mentally ill man in 2013. The Cukor family sued the Berkeley Police for failing to respond to the attack quickly enough.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.