A San Francisco couple publicly apologized on Sunday for getting the police involved after noticing a person of color stenciling "Black Lives Matter" onto his property, per ABC7 News.
"The last 48 hours has taught me that my actions were those of someone who is not aware of the damage caused by being ignorant and naive to racial inequalities," the statement reads. "When I watch the video I am shocked and sad that I behaved the way I did. It was disrespectful to Mr. Juanillo and I am deeply sorry for that."
These are the words of Lisa Alexander, CEO of the skincare company LaFace, who confronted James Juanillo with her partner Robert Larkin on Thursday, after they saw him writing "Black Lives Matter" in chalk on the retaining wall in front of his home. The incident was captured by Juanillo and shared on Twitter.
Larkin and Alexander start their interaction with Juanillo by accusing him of defacing private property, clearly unaware that the residence belongs to him. When Juanillo suggested the idea that the home could be his own, Alexander claimed that the couple "know the person who does live here."
As the two walked away, they accused Juanillo of committing a crime before following up on his suggestion that they call the police. Juanillo told ABC7 News that when the officers arrived, they immediately recognized him, and didn’t even bother to get out of their car.
"What she did is polite racism," Juanillo said in an interview. "It's respectable racism. 'Respectfully, sir, I don't think you belong here.'"
Birchbox released a statement indicating that despite not working with LaFace for "several years," the makeup subscription service said they are severing ties with Alexander’s company due to her racist actions.
On Monday, Larkin was fired by his employer Raymond James because his actions "were inconsistent with our values."
"Over the last two days, I have had my eyes opened wide to my own ignorance of racial inequity, and I have thought a lot about my own personal blind spots," Larkin said in his own apology. "I was wrong to question Mr. Juanillo, and I was wrong to call the neighborhood police watch. It was wrong, and I am profoundly sorry for treating him with disrespect."