What to Know
- Video of a confrontation between a Black couple and a white neighbor in Montclair, New Jersey, has been viewed more than 1 million times
- In the video, the white neighbor can be seen calling the police and alleging her Black neighbor shoved her; the Black couple said it didn't happen, and that she had been bothering them about a permit for some home construction
- Police say no complaints were filed in the case, which sparked a small protest on Tuesday
A caught-on-camera dispute between neighbors over work being done at a northern New Jersey home this week sparked a brief anti-racism protest march after video of the confrontation gained widespread attention on social media.
Fareed and Norrinda Hayat, who are Black, say they were confronted by a white woman outside their Montclair home on Monday about noon. They say the woman -- who they identified in a video as "Susan" -- had asked them repeatedly about whether they had a permit to build a stone patio in their backyard.
"She kept asking, 'Where's your permit? Where's your permit," said Norrinda Hayat, who on Wednesday noted that she didn't know the woman's name before this week.
She added, "It's not like we're neighborly."
As the argument continued, the woman accused Fareed Hayat of pushing her, allegations the Norrinda Hayat could be heard off-screen denying in a video Fareed Hayat posted to his Facebook profile. Several neighbors soon arrived to watch the commotion.
One of them challenged the woman for calling the police "in this climate" while a second, later identified as Linda Korn, called her out for not wearing a face mask. Korn and others seen on the video also said that Fareed Hayat did not push the woman.
"We do have to stand up and say 'No, you don't get to write your own narrative and that's not what other people see," Korn said.
The woman refused the couple's request to leave the area and called Montclair police, who arrived on scene a short time later. Authorities said Wednesday that no complaints have been filed by anyone involved.
Video of the dispute was then circulated on Facebook, and Fareed Hayat claimed the woman called police because the couple was Black. In the description, he also claimed the woman had been harassing them for two years.
The video has been viewed more than 1 million times on Twitter and shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook since it was first posted to the latter platform Monday.
"This is not right," said Norrinda Hayat. "I teach that this is not right. People should not have to deal with these micro- and macroagressions."
On Tuesday, about two dozen people — many of them white — gathered at the scene to stage a brief, peaceful protest march and denounce racism.
The video also caught the attention of Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson, who applauded the Hayats' neighbors for stepping in to defend them.
"We have to stand up for one another," he said. "We make sure people are doing the right thing and that's what makes Montclair so special."
A phone number for the woman seen in the video wasn't immediately available Wednesday.