PEARLAND, Texas -- A Pearland City Council candidate is calling for sensitivity training after ending up in a neighborhood crime alert.
It happened as he and a volunteer distributed campaign materials.
“We’ve been block walking now for the last 2-and-a-half months,” Darnell Jones said.
Jones has met hundreds of people while campaigning. He never thought he’d be seen as anything but a political threat.
“Because we are only out there to inform the residents of Pearland,” Jones said.
However, over the weekend, Jones and a volunteer appeared in a NextDoor.com post titled “potential crime alert” after canvassing a neighborhood. It includes home surveillance video showing the pair walking around.
“I wondered how someone would believe that we were offensive or especially criminal,” Jones said.
Jones can’t help but suspect something racial. He is African-American. His volunteer is Middle Eastern.
“I also believe that it lends credibility to my efforts to expand cultural sensitivity and diversity training,” Jones said.
The story has already blown up on various social media platforms.
“The woman never said anything about race. She may be any race herself,” one person wrote on Jones’s own Facebook page.
“As a female, if I am home alone at night, and two men come knocking at my door, I don’t care what color you are -- white, brown, yellow, ANY color -- I am not opening my door!!” wrote another.
Jones says he was clearly wearing a campaign t-shirt and left campaign materials behind before the alert was posted.
“Had the young lady compared the photo to the surveillance video, then maybe she could’ve just called me and would have known she had nothing to fear,” Jones said.
We left a message for the woman who wrote the original post and have not heard back.
Jones' opponent, incumbent Gary Moore, had no comment on the NextDoor post.
NextDoor has a strict policy when it comes to potential racial profiling. Below is a statement from the social media company:
"Racial profiling on Nextdoor is an extremely rare occurrence, but even one occurrence is too many. We move quickly to address these issues because it is in clear violation of our member guidelines. The Nextdoor guidelines help ensure that members hold themselves and their neighbors to appropriate neighborly behavior. Members are expected to refrain from using profanity or posting messages that will be perceived as discriminatory or racist in any way. Any member has the ability to flag content and contact Nextdoor about any behavior on the site that they believe to be harmful to a neighbor or the neighborhood. A violation of our site's guidelines could result in the post being taken down and the immediate suspension of a member's account."
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