The Donald Trump era might not have begun until last Friday, but for a 47-year-old Indian American woman, who came to the United States more than four decades ago, it arrived a month early, when she was stopped by police while she was on a morning walk.
Aravinda Pillalamarri, a resident of Bel Air, a suburb of Baltimore, was asked by the cop, whether she was in the country illegally, reported The Baltimore Sun.
The incident happened on December 21, the paper said. Here’s the Sun’s description of the event:
When she responded to his question about what she was doing – that she was walking – Pillalamarri says the questions continued.
When she asked why the officer was asking her so many questions, he replied because someone had called police.
“Walking while brown?” Pillalamarri said she then asked the officer.
A police supervisor arrived and began to question Pillalamarri, more aggressively, she said, and told her she wasn’t free to leave because she “was under criminal investigation.”
He asked why she didn’t have identification with her.
“Why don’t you have ID?” she said the supervisor asked her. “Are you here illegally?”
Once the officers had run her name through their computer system, Pillalamarri said, she was allowed to leave and walked to her home, just a few doors away.
According to the Sun, Pillalamarri has lived in Bel Air — which is 65 miles from Washington, DC — for more than 30 years.
She shared her story at a Bel Air Board of Town commissioners meeting on January 17 in order to “bring to their attention the need to uphold everyone’s civil rights.”
On a Facebook post, on January 18th, Pillalamarri referred to the previous night’s town meeting, without mentioning her story. She wrote: “You know what was the best thing about being at the Town Meeting last night? We made Bel Air a safe haven, a civil haven from all the madness outside. We had an open discussion about a sensitive issue.”