Add "Hallway Harry" to the ranks of white people who take it upon themselves to police the activities of Black people going about their regular lives, along with "BBQ Becky," "Permit Patty" and "Cornerstore Caroline."
This latest viral video shows Chika Okafor, a sports producer at the Bleacher Report, in the lobby of his apartment building in New York City waiting with a friend for a Lyft ride. The two were headed to a holiday party for Okafor's company when an unidentified white man approached, asking what they were doing in the building and which unit Okafor lived in.
While his friend filmed the encounter, Okafor told the man nicknamed "Hallway Harry" he had lived in the building for over a year. The man responded:
"I've never seen you before. I've lived here 27 years."
Okafor, who maintained his composure during the exchange, posted the following to Twitter.
I was racially profiled in my apartment complex last night. While I was with my friend Cassius Flemming waiting for… https://t.co/3fYiFtqe8N— Chika Okafor (@Chika Okafor)1545319542.0
He also added the video.
The arrogance is appalling but honestly, not surprising because far too many times people of color have been victim… https://t.co/U35QASoAz9— Chika Okafor (@Chika Okafor)1545319764.0
Apparently, the man wasn't done patrolling the halls. A woman named Janah Reynolds had a run in with the same man, who refused to allow her into the building.
Reynolds commented on Okafor's Facebook post:
Reynolds, who is white, explained that the man had an issue with them temporarily renting a unit through Airbnb. After calling the police numerous time and waiting for over an hour to no avail, the man eventually let them in.
Many folks on Twitter felt the man was out of line for policing the building.
@ChikaO_13 He's asking for your address like its Freedom Papers. Like who gave you permission to be free???!!!— Tay (@Tay)1545332934.0
@mtherFNprincess @ChikaO_13 And then clammed up when they asked for his name?— Shayna Hayes (@Shayna Hayes)1545360868.0
@MsShaynaT @ChikaO_13 Started studdering like he was confused why they'd dare question him.— Tay (@Tay)1545361012.0
Some were calling for the man to be outed on social media.
@ChikaO_13 @shaunking Let’s go Twitter. Find out who he is and expose him!— Lucha Vandross (@Lucha Vandross)1545333151.0
@ChikaO_13 These kinds of people don't have the same values as we do. They lack something vital. Expose each and every one of them.— Khalid Salaam (@Khalid Salaam)1545333101.0
@itsahelluvatown @Dmart92798 @nytimes Release his name and the other info , he needs to be outed and fired !— kim young (@kim young)1545709652.0
Okafor, who sublets the apartment, told the New York Times what he found most upsetting:
"I felt insulted. I felt violated. To me, his behavior suggested that, one, because we were people of color we were a threat to their safety, and, two, because we are people of color we can't afford to live in that type of apartment complex. It's the Upper East Side. It's considered to be one of the wealthy parts of Manhattan. It's a nice apartment."
Some people thought the man wasn't necessarily racist but simply annoying for everyone in the building.
@nytimes There’s always a self appointed building police- this one looked a bit drunk. He has no right to question… https://t.co/WP4wNmQjB3— Damaris Reda (@Damaris Reda)1545711777.0
@nytimes Just a man sticking his nose up in another man's business where it doesn't belong. There are ways of getti… https://t.co/DVYTaxdMN1— Elyse Herrod (@Elyse Herrod)1545710610.0
@nytimes Any proof this is racism?— TheCanadianRealist (@TheCanadianRealist)1545703749.0
@TheCDNrealist @nytimes No. And there's proof it isn't, since he did the same thing to a white person.— Spartacus (@Spartacus)1545704290.0
@nytimes It appears that he could fall into the category of asshole, busybody and general nuisance, since he appare… https://t.co/Q4FVm0fqVZ— Kevin Sells (@Kevin Sells)1545736579.0
A couple of people even felt he was in the right.
@nytimes The guy has a right to find out if the other guy belongs in that building and vice versa— Steve Vesely (@Steve Vesely)1545711537.0
@nytimes LOTS OF HOUSE ROBBERIES during Christmas... he had the right to protect his building— LadyTruckDriver (@LadyTruckDriver)1545720950.0
But most people believed they knew the real reason he questioned Okafor.
@ChikaO_13 What was with him criticizing you for being calm, collected and cool. These people can't stand that a bl… https://t.co/31giuxLv0k— Nicholas Roy (@Nicholas Roy)1545341274.0
@ChikaO_13 Not trying to debate this issue. This is EXACTLY how Trayvon Martin was murdered. The act of approachin… https://t.co/6WnP1iroHi— Sekou_Slickback (@Sekou_Slickback)1545356761.0
@ChikaO_13 You should have call the police and file a lawsuit against that man. YOU CANNOT LET THIS INSIDEN REST,… https://t.co/EoHVTo3vh0— Dier Realty (@Dier Realty)1545636600.0
Has "neighborhood watch" gotten out of control?
@ChikaO_13 Even if Chika didn't live in the bldg, is there a problem? Are tenants not allowed to have guests? Ho… https://t.co/i05jCnpaK5— Stephen Best (@Stephen Best)1545569990.0
Okafor has taken the best approach, saying:
"I'm not going to change how I live my life based on this guy's inappropriate behavior."
He plans to renew his lease for another year.