Republican Politician Calls Police on 9-Year-Old Black Girl Catching Lanternflies Outside

Republican Politician Calls Police on 9-Year-Old Black Girl Catching Lanternflies Outside

A New Jersey mom was appalled after she learned an older neighbor in her Caldwell community called the police on her daughter for innocently catching lanternflies outside.

According to BuzzFeed, the 71-year-old neighbor, Gordon Lawshe, called the police on 9-year-old Bobbi Wilson on Oct. 22 while she was outside testing an environmentally-safe formula she discovered on TikTok to spray trees that were infested with lanternflies, an invasive species she was learning about in school.

The fourth-grader’s mother, Monique Joseph, attended a town council meeting on Nov. 1, urging town leadership to address the impacts of racial discrimination in Caldwell. During the meeting, Joseph recited words from a police recording of Lawshe’s 911 call.

“There’s a little Black woman, walking, spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees,” Joseph read aloud.

“I don’t know what the hell she’s doing; it scares me though.” Lawshe also mentioned in his call that Wilson was wearing a “hood” and said she was a “real small woman…you can’t miss her.”

Lawshe, who Wilson’s 13-year-old sister, Hayden, said has lived across from their family for almost eight years, served as co-head and treasurer of the Caldwell Republican Committee and the Caldwell Community Center membership director.

Greg Mascera, Lawshe’s attorney, denied any acts of racial profiling from his client.

“Racism, intentional or not, is still racism,” the mother of two said.

“To hear my neighbor using triggering words that have resulted in the deaths of too many Black and brown children and adults at the hands of the police. ‘Black,’ ‘hoodie,’ ‘I’m scared.’ Those are triggering words.”

During her speech addressing the council, Hayden added that Bobbi was not on Lawshe’s property. “She was not only doing something amazing for our environment, but she was doing something that made her feel like a hero,” she said.

“My 9-year-old daughter was afraid to go outside the next day,” she said. “It is unfortunate that she understands exactly what could have happened to her if we lived somewhere else in this country.”

According to The Daily Beast, the town council told the sisters they have full support from the governing body.

“It is clear that a line was crossed. My heart goes out to Monique and her two girls,” Caldwell mayor John Kelley said.