Neighbor Calls Cops on 11-Year-Old Black Boy With a Paper Route

A boy delivering newspapers with his mom and brother aroused the suspicion of a local resident, even though he hadn't done anything wrong.


An Ohio mom and her two sons had their paper route interrupted last week when a police car pulled them over.

It seemed curious that police would be interested in the family, as they hadn't done anything to warrant the attention of authorities. But as it turns out, someone had called the cops on Brandie Sharp's 11-year-old son, Uriah.

The caller grew suspicious after seeing Uriah walk up to a house in Upper Arlington, Ohio, and come back with something in his hand. "It looked like at first they were delivering newspapers or something, but I noticed they were walking up to the houses with nothing in hand and one of them came back with something," the caller told police, according to WSYX, "I mean, I don't want to say something was going on, but it just seemed kind of suspicious."

Uriah, though, had a completely reasonable explanation. He, his mom, and his 17-year-old brother Mycah had delivered some of the newspapers to the wrong homes, and he was retrieving them. Sharp tells WCMH that after a police officer pulled her over and asked if they were soliciting, she explained they were on a paper route and the situation was quickly resolved.

But Sharp wasn't pleased someone had felt the need to call the police in the first place, and she thinks her son's race played a factor. "Sad I cant [sic] even teach my son the value of working without someone whispering and looking at us out the side of their eye perhaps because we DON'T 'look like a person that belongs in their neighborhood,'" she wrote in a Facebook post.

She was also left wondering what was so suspicious about a family delivering newspapers in broad daylight. "Something as simple as delivering papers and it turns out to be I have to be racially profiled?" she tells WSYX.

Arlington Police said on Facebook that the officer simply responded to a report of suspicious behavior, then "quickly determined" nothing nefarious was going on. Police also noted that a new law in Upper Arlington requires people delivering newspapers "to walk up to each home to correctly deliver these materials."

This case is just the latest in a string of "Summer of Snitches" incidents involving authorities being called either to enforce petty regulations or for no reason at all. Just last week, for example, police were summoned to deal with a black man wearing socks at a pool. The white apartment complex manager who called police has since been fired.