A white couple blocked a young Mexican American man from entering the San Francisco apartment complex where he lives in, saying “they would not let a criminal into their complex as they needed to protect it.“
Michael Barajas, a UC-Berkeley graduate and a community educator for a biopharmaceutical company, tried to park his car in the apartment complex’s garage Tuesday night when the driver in front of him refused to pull forward.
“Given the current political climate, and certainly I’m Mexican American, and that rhetoric of us being criminals, it just hit hard, it hit close to home,” Barajas told KNTV.
The white man claimed Barajas was trespassing and threatened to call police.
“That’s fine. Call the cops. Why are you even calling the cops about, Karen?” the video shows Barajas responding.
In an Instagram post, Barajas said the white man “thought I was trying to tailgate them to break in and rob them.” One of Barajas’ neighbors, who is also white, was outside smoking and intervened in the situation. The driver then got out of a white SUV with Florida plates, beat the neighbor up, “and threatened to shoot us if we didn’t leave,” said Barajas.
Security officials and police arrived at the scene and Barajas filed a report alongside his neighbor, even though “the girlfriend tried to pay us to not call the cops and not press battery charges,” said Barajas, who has since moved parking spots “as he threatened to shoot us.”
“This is NOT OK and this goes to show you that racism is well and alive,” said Barajas, adding that four other people walked into the apartment complex through the garage during the incident, and the white man said “nothing to them.”
The white man in the video has been identified on social media as William “Hank” Beasley, who worked at Apex Systems, KNTV reported. The technology services company did not identify Beasley but said in a tweet that it had fired an employee after “an internal review of the incident” and will not tolerate violent or racist behavior.
Beasley’s only public response to the altercation was caught on camera by a local TV station. Beasley said he assaulted the neighbor who intervened because “he was hitting and vandalizing my car. I called security. That’s all I have to say.”
When asked what did he have to say to those who are calling him a racist, Beasley said, “Why are you attacking me?”
The apartment complex where he lives said in a statement that they will continue to gather all the facts and work to ensure that their “standards of tolerance, inclusivity and safety are adhered to.“
Barajas’ encounter with Beasley comes weeks after another seemingly racial profiling incident was caught on video in San Francisco. The white woman involved in that incident, Lisa Alexander, recently apologized for calling the cops on a Filipino American man who wrote “Black Lives Matter” with chalk outside his own house. She was also fired from her job.
San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the district where the incident with Barajas happened, told KNTV that “no one should have to go through that where someone treats you with suspicion, anger and aggression that seemed to be in a discriminatory way.”