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12yo paperboy, Upper Arlington police at center of racial profiling accusation

A 12-year-old boy, his mother, and the Upper Arlington Police Department are at the center of a potential racial profiling situation.

Brandie Sharp and her son were delivering “The Bag” of ads to front porches in Upper Arlington on Friday so that they could learn “the value of working,” Sharp wrote on Facebook.

It was their first day on the route.

They discovered some bags were delivered to the wrong homes so they went back to retrieve them.

In doing so, one bystander became weary, telling the dispatcher, “It just seemed kind of suspicious.”

Police department spokesman, Officer Bryan McKean, told NBC4i that a caller reported seeing someone going up to a porch empty-handed and leaving the porch with something in their hand.

Sharp and her son were on Barrington Rd. when a police cruiser pulled up.

“Police officer pulls up and ask us questions as if we were intruding in their area,” she wrote on Facebook. 

Sharp told NBC4i that the situation felt like racial profiling.

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“My apologies Upper Arlington for bringing my 12 year old African American son into your neighborhood to deliver the paper and make a few dollars on the side…NO HARM INTENDED,” Sharp wrote on Facebook.

McKean denies race playing a part, telling NBC4i that any time they get a call like that, they’re going to respond.

He added, “If she feels she was treated unfairly by our officer, we want to hear from her. We want to know what our officer did to make her feel that way so we can investigate that and we can find out.”

This story has reached national headlines including NY Daily News.

The popularity Sharp’s Facebook post (shared nearly 2,000 times) prompted the Upper Arlington Police Department to post the following, per NBC4i:

We have seen some conversations on Facebook relative to a Police response to a report of suspicious activity that turned out to be completely benign, and wish to provide some background on what transpired. On Friday evening, UA Police responded to a report of suspicious activity concerning a vehicle and two people on foot near Barrington Elementary. The caller reported seeing one of the people approach a home empty-handed but leave holding something. The first officer to arrive quickly determined it was a team of people delivering printed advertising materials and reported back that there was no issue. For some context, UA recently enacted a law placing more stringent requirements on the delivery of printed materials, such as advertising packets, to help reduce littering. Deliveries must be made to specific locations, such as on a porch or through a mail slot in the front door. This has changed the patterns of delivery people, since they are required to walk up to each home to correctly deliver these materials. Residents are seeing this change in approach but may not be aware of the new law. If you would like more details, please call Police, at 614-583-5197 or police@uaoh.net.

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