CALDWELL, N.J. (WKRC/CNN/CNN Newsource) - Police in Caldwell, New Jersey, released body cam video of an incident in October where a man called the police on his 9-year-old neighbor as she was catching spotted lanternflies.
The incident happened on Oct. 22 when the man, Gordon Lawshe, called a non-emergency line to report a "little Black woman, walking, spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees," according to the call.
"I don't know what the hell she's doing. Scares me though," he said.
"She's a real small woman," he adds when asked for a description.
That "real small woman," however was 9-year-old Bobbi Wilson, who regularly searches for the invasive spotted lanternfly, which can harm plants and trees. Her efforts were even featured in an article in her community newspaper, The Progress. New Jersey also has a "Stomp it Out" campaign to encourage the killing of these insects, reports CNN.
Newly released body cam video shows an officer walking up to Wilson to ask her what she was doing. She shows him a jug she was using to catch the insects as her mother, Monique Joseph, comes over to talk to the officer.
"Are you serious?" Joseph asks the officer after he explains why he was called.
"Yeah, I guess he saw -- I'm not sure. I'm not sure," the officer says. "You're obviously next-door neighbors."
After talking to Joseph, the officer talks to Lawshe to explain Wilson was catching lanternflies.
"What a weirdo, huh?" Lawshe's heard saying in the video.
Joseph and her older daughter spoke at a council meeting on Nov. 1 after the incident. Joseph said her daughter was racially profiled and was afraid to leave the house the day after the incident.
"Racism, intentional or not, is still racism," Joseph said. "My neighbor's words put my daughter in harm's way. His words and actions were unconscionable, and the impact of the aftermath of this incident will not be kept secret."
The Progress reports Joseph and Wilson were invited to the police department for a tour and the chance to talk about race relations. Joseph says she also requested a meeting with Lawshe, but he has not responded to her.