Police Investigate Man Who Followed Black Woman Home Saying He Felt Unsafe

Police are investigating a man who allegedly followed a Black woman who was driving home and claimed her presence in his neighborhood made him feel unsafe.

Julia Santos posted videos of her encounter with the man in Groveland, Massachusetts, on her Facebook and Twitter accounts on Monday.

"I just got Karen'd? This man followed me home because I went to pick up DOG FOOD at somebody's house!" Santos wrote alongside the clip on Twitter. "He followed me all the way to my house so I turned on a side street and he said he felt 'unsafe.'"

I just got Karen'd? This man followed me home because I went to pick up DOG FOOD at somebody's house!

He followed me all the way to my house so I turned on a side street and he said he felt "unsafe" pic.twitter.com/vEBdhStU1K

— ponyo (@kagl0me) June 29, 2020

The clip shows the man in a convertible pulling up beside Santos' car and interrogating her about what she was doing.

"What are you driving up Juniper Terrace for?" The man asked Santos.

Santos explained that she had gone to pick up free dog food that had been offered online.

When she tells the man she doesn't feel safe, he replied: "You don't feel safe? I don't feel safe with you driving around my neighborhood."

When Santos asks him why he doesn't feel safe, he replies "There's just too many people."

"Too many people? Or is it 'cause I'm Black? Is that why?"

"No," the man says. "I don't know what color you are. What color are you?"

When Santos continues to press him about why he was following her, the man says it's because she was "up our street" and that he doesn't believe her reason for being there.

The man drives away shortly after another woman confronts him. "What are you doing?" The woman is heard saying off-camera. "I don't like the fact that this poor girl is being harassed."

"I don't like the fact that she's in my neighborhood," the man responds before driving off.

Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey T. Gillen said the department has launched a criminal investigation into the incident.

In a statement, he said the man in the video had been identified and interviewed, but did not name him. The investigation remains active and ongoing and criminal charges may be filed, he added.

Gillen said Santos had traveled around a mile from her home to pick up dog food that was being advertised on a Groveland community Facebook page. On her way home, she said she noticed a man in a vehicle had turned around multiple times "in an obvious effort to follow her."

"Rather than pull into her own driveway, the resident pulled onto a side street and was confronted by the man who allegedly accused her of suspicious behavior," Gillen said. "Another resident emerged from their home and told the man to leave, which he did."

Gillen expressed his outrage that a Groveland resident was made to fear for their safety, saying he was "deeply disturbed" by the incident.

"On a personal note, I have lived in this area for my entire life and have been a police officer here for more than 30 years," he said.

"I have met many of the families in Groveland, including the victim's family, and watched families grow here. I am deeply disturbed by this situation. The fact that a resident of our town could face accusation and be followed around like a criminal should make everyone stop in their tracks and consider how we treat one another."

He added: "Our job as police officers is to not only keep people safe but also feel safe in Groveland, and we will aggressively investigate this situation and do everything we can do to ensure it is not repeated."

The incident comes amid increased awareness on matters of race following weeks of protests against racial injustice across the U.S. sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis police custody in late May.

Santos and the Groveland Police Department have been contacted for additional comment.

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A protester holds a large black power raised fist in the middle of the crowd that gathered to protest the killing of George Floyd at Columbus Circle in New York City on June 14, 2020. Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images