Police called on ex-White House staffer moving into apartment

Posted at 7:26 AM, May 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-02 04:32:15-04

NEW YORK (CNN) - Someone called police on a former White House staffer.

The caller reported Darren Martin as a burglar, even though he was just moving into a new building.

He said he believes the call was made partly because of his skin color.

"It's embarrassing and I was angry." Martin said.

It was an unsolicited homecoming that left the Bronx native unsettled.

After spending several years working on Capitol Hill and in the White House with the Obama administration, Martin recently made the move back to New York, getting a job with the city and finding a unit in a 5-story walkup on the Upper West Side.

On moving day this past Friday, Martin got an unexpected visit from the NYPD.

"I'm in my apartment but, you know, you can't go nowhere without the cops following me," he said in a video posted to social media.

It turns out, someone called 911 to report a burglary in progress and the suspect, the building's new tenant, Martin.

"Somebody called the cops on me in my own building. About how many are y'all? About six of y'all showed up, rolled up on me," he said.

"That was the only time I had to move, and I didn't think anybody was going to call cops on me. I mean, I was moving into the building," Martin said.

Without skipping a beat, Martin went live on Instagram, documenting the encounter with authorities.

An investigation later determined there was nothing criminal about Martin's activity.

He tells us his skin color along with the gentrifying neighborhood along 106th Street were obvious factors that led to police being called.

"As a black man when you're in an all-white environment, you're cognizant of that," Martin said. "I have to say I found it kind of symbolic, sadly, like 'welcome to the neighborhood.'"

Sadly, Martin's story isn't one of a kind.

Earlier this month, two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks for trespassing after asking to use a bathroom.

In Martin's case, he said hopes the incident serves as a teaching moment for the neighbor and others jumping to conclusions.

"Get to know folks before you make these assumptions. When you make that call there's no turning back, and it could've ended up very differently," he said.

Martin said despite the 911 call, he will keep his one-year lease in the building.

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