Racism in America continues to be a pressing issue, even with the extensive efforts by many U.S. residents to combat it. The problem has become more apparent since the country reopened following the relaxation of most Covid-19 measures.
In recent years, the number of reported racism cases has grown, becoming a concerning trend. A recent incident involving a White woman and a Black couple underscores the ongoing challenge our society faces in addressing this problem.
In a startling incident that has since galvanized the community and prompted widespread outcry, a video showcasing a dispute between neighbors has rapidly gone viral. The incident, which culminated in a public demonstration outside the home of the accused, revolved around the construction of a stone patio.
The events unfolded few weeks ago as F. S. Hayat, an attorney and a professor of law at City University of New York, accompanied by his wife, Norrinda, engaged in the backyard construction of a stone patio on their property. While immersed in the construction activities, they were unexpectedly confronted by their neighbor, S. Schulz, whose property is contiguous with the Hayats’ backyard. Schulz reportedly demanded clarification regarding the requisite permits for such construction.
Responding to Schulz’s inquiries, Hayat calmly explained that his contractor had examined the legalities and had assured him that no permits were required for the construction. Despite Hayat’s explanation, Schulz remained unconvinced, persisting with her line of inquiry.
The video, which can be seen in the end of the article, captured the mounting tension between the parties. It begins with Schulz issuing a threat to call the police, alleging that she was forcibly pushed “10 feet” off the Hayats’ property.
“Call the police. We expect that,” Hayat yells from behind the camera.
As the situation escalated, Schulz communicated her accusations to the police, expressing her firm belief that the couple was in violation of permit regulations.
“She’s been waiting two years to do this to us,” Hayat claims multiple times as Shulz speaks with the police.
While this confrontation was unfolding, a passerby who was walking her dogs stopped to admonish Schulz, decrying her decision to call the police.
“Shame on you! In this climate right now, you’re especially not supporting members of our community here,” she says.
The tension-filled encounter between the Hayats and Shulz in New Jersey continued to escalate, becoming an incendiary flashpoint that reveals underlying societal dynamics and complexities.
Following the initial confrontation, the situation intensified as Shulz approached the dog-walker who had earlier admonished her, seeking to justify her actions. She inquired if the dog-walker had witnessed Hayat’s alleged push, to which she was met with a disdainful chuckle from Hayat off-camera.
Hayat chuckles off-camera and replies he didn’t even touch the woman and that she was lying.
Despite the severity of the allegations, the couple consistently and calmly denied that Shulz was subjected to any physical contact. As the interaction grew increasingly fraught, Hayat, adopting a conciliatory tone, entreated Shulz to “please leave.” Shulz’s reaction was one of exasperation, as she exclaimed, “Oh my God, because you’re attorneys you know what to do.” Hayat’s measured response.
“Exactly,” Hayat responds. “So please walk away from our property.”
The exchange reached a critical juncture when Shulz demanded that Hayat cease recording the confrontation, a request that was firmly rebuffed.
“No. This is for the people so they can see[…] what we are living with for two years. Susan […] has been harassing us for two years.”
Neither the Hayats nor Shulz elected to file formal complaints with the local authorities. The situation was eventually de-escalated when Hayat wisely advised her husband to withdraw from the scene, taking their children indoors to avoid any further confrontation upon the police’s arrival.
The video, serving as a stark testimony to the tension that had been simmering for years, quickly went viral. A small protest was organized shortly after the incident and the demonstrators with “Black Lives Matter” signs marched through the neighborhood and past Shulz’s home.
NOTE: Because some may find the video of the incident disturbing, please click here to watch it on your own risk!