UPPER ARLINGTON, OH — Twelve-year-old Uriah Sharpe’s first day as a paperboy was anything but ideal. When he mistakenly delivered newspapers to the wrong houses, and went to retrieve them, police were called. Why? His mom says it’s about race.
“First day of paper route and we are pulled over by police,” said Brandi Sharpe, the paperboy’s mother, on social media. “Sad I cant even teach my son the value of working without someone whispering and looking at us out the side of their eye perhaps because we DON’T “look like a person that belongs in their neighborhood.”
A neighbor had reportedly spotted them on Friday retrieving the bags from some front lawns and thought they seemed suspicious. The caller said she had seen people approaching houses, empty-handed, and leaving with a bag of something. So the cops checked it out.
While officers quickly determined that nothing nefarious was going on, Brandi said she is “totally disgusted this kind of behavior still exists.” She believes the race of her son played a part in the police being called. Sharpe said she is going to have her son’s paper route changed to avoid the neighborhood in the future.
For their part, Upper Arlington police have denied any racial bias in the incident. The department said a recent law change requires papers to be delivered to specific locations, like a mail slot or porch, to reduce littering. They believe ignorance of that change prompted a resident to call police on the Sharpes.
“Residents are seeing this change in approach but may not be aware of the new law,” they said on Facebook.
The incident in Columbus comes less than two weeks after police were called on a team of black children — ages 9-13 — that were mowing a neighbor’s lawn in Maple Heights. The children allegedly mowed part of another person’s lawn, prompting them to call the police on the children.
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