The trio served the Rialto Police Department with notice of a pending lawsuit Monday after an April 30 confrontation where Donisha Prendergast, a 33-year-old filmmaker and descendant of the legendary reggae singer, was accused of burgling a home.
She and her friends were witnessed packing their luggage into a car outside a rental, which alarmed the 911 caller who failed to “recognize the vehicle or the people as neighbors, or the homeowner.”
The officers pulled Prendergast over in the San Bernardino suburb and said a neighbor saw “three black people stealing stuff.”“Like breaking into the house and taking stuff,” the officer said, according to video of the April 30 encounter. The back-and-forth spanned more than 20 minutes as police grilled the trio, eventually conceding that the group was “Airbnb renters and were at the residence as guests,” according to police officials.
The department assured Prendergast and the two other guests were never restrained as officers contacted the rental owner “to confirm there had been no crime committed.”
The three guests were identified by police as Marley’s grandkid, Prendergast, Kells Fyffee Marshall and Komi-Oluwa Olafimihan.
Both Prendergast and Marshall bemoaned the encounter on social media.
“Got surrounded by the police for being black in a white neighbourhood. Smh,” Prendergast wrote in an Instagram post.
“I’m sad and irritated to see that fear is still the first place police officers go in their pursuit to serve and protect, to the point that protocol supersedes their ability to have discernment,” she added. “Many have suffered and died in moments like these. That’s a crazy reality check. Give Thanks for life, and the ability to stand our ground.”
A rep for Prendergast declined to comment further but pledged to release a longer version of the video and details of the pending lawsuit.