Julia Santos was on her way back from picking up a bag of dog food for her pomeranian-beagle mix, Athena, on Monday when she noticed she was being followed by a strange man.
Santos, who is Black, found herself cornered on a side street, being interrogated by a white man who wanted to know what she was doing in a neighborhood that was less than a mile from her own home in Groveland, Massachusetts.
The 21-year-old, who has lived in Groveland all her life, was making the short drive to grab the dog food she’d seen offered for free online.
In the video, posted to Facebook by Santos Monday, a man driving a BMW convertible is seen pulling up beside her car, on a street near her home.
“So what are you driving up Juniper Terrace for?” the man asks.
Santos explains that she saw a post online offering free dog food, which she’d gone to pick up.
She then tells the man she saw him following her, and pulled over on a side street.
“I don’t feel safe right now,” Santos says.
“You don’t feel safe?” the man says. “I don’t feel safe with you driving around in my neighborhood.”
“Why?” Santos asks.
“Too many people,” the man says, stammering slightly.
“Or is it because I’m Black?” Santos asks. “Is that why?”
“No,” the man says. “I don’t know what color you are. What color are you?”
After about two minutes, the confrontation ends when a neighbor, watching the exchange from her car nearby, chastises the man for harassing Santos.
“I don’t like the fact that this poor girl is being harassed,” the neighbor says, off camera.
“I don’t like the fact that she’s in my neighborhood,” the man says.
But Santos was only about a mile from her own home when the man began following her.
Police have opened a criminal investigation into the incident, which Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen said “deeply disturbed” him, reports The Boston Globe.
In a message to the Globe, Santos said she was still “a little shaken up” a day after the incident.
Santos says she is “so happy and relieved about the amount of support I’ve received inside and outside my community.”
I just got Karen'd? This man followed me home because I went to pick up DOG FOOD at somebody's house!
He followed me all the way to my house so I turned on a side street and he said he felt "unsafe" pic.twitter.com/vEBdhStU1K
— ponyo (@kagl0me) June 29, 2020