Julia Santos Groveland, Massachusetts black woman followed by white man, Paul Birkhauser demanding to know what she is doing in her own neighborhood.
### Update: Paul Birkhauser, 65, the white man identified confronting Julia Santos black woman driving in her own neighborhood will now face charges of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. He will be summonsed to Haverhill District for a hearing, Groveland police said Thursday.
### Original post: A black Massachusetts woman shared video footage of a white man following her in his BMW as she drove in her own neighborhood, demanding to know what she was doing in the area.
‘I just got Karen’d? This man followed me home because I went to pick up DOG FOOD at somebody’s house!’ Julia Santos, 21, tweeted, using the term ‘Karen’ for self entitled privileged white women, after the un-identified man stopped her while she was driving home in Groveland on Monday.
The driver of the convertible BMW cornered her on a side street and began asking her questions about what she was doing in her neighborhood, where she has lived her entire life, about 35 miles north of Boston, the Boston Globe reported.
‘So what are you driving up Juniper Terrace for?’ the man since outed on social media as Paul Birkhauser also of Groveland who had worked as a Senior Director, Facility Engineering & Operations at Fresenius Medical Care until 2019 according to sources made available directly to scallywagandvagabond.com.
I just got Karen’d? This man followed me home because I went to pick up DOG FOOD at somebody’s house!
He followed me all the way to my house so I turned on a side street and he said he felt “unsafe” pic.twitter.com/vEBdhStU1K
— ponyo (@kagl0me) June 29, 2020
Santos explained that she had just picked up the dog food after seeing a post online offering free chow.
‘I don’t feel safe right now,’ she then says.
‘You don’t feel safe? I don’t feel safe with you driving around in my neighborhood,’ he replies.
‘Why?’ Santos asks.
‘Too many people,’ he says.
‘Or is it because I’m black? Is that why?’ Santos asks.
‘No,’ he says. ‘I don’t know what color you are. What color are you?’
Paul Birkhauser co-owns a pre-school in Colorado: Primrose School of Lafayette @PrimroseSchools. 😟 They removed him from the website in the past 24 hours. This is a screenshot of the site before the edit. pic.twitter.com/tnB2rTZiiH
— Veronica L (@Vero_Lane) July 1, 2020
‘I don’t like the fact that she’s in my neighborhood,’
After a couple of minutes, a neighbor watching the conversation from her car chides the man for harassing Santos.
‘I don’t like the fact that this poor girl is being harassed,’ the neighbor is heard saying.
‘I don’t like the fact that she’s in my neighborhood,’ the man retorts.
Santos told the Boston Globe that she was still ‘a little shaken up’ by the incident, which has gone viral on social media.
‘But I am so happy and relieved about the amount of support I’ve received inside and outside my community,’ she told the media outlet, adding that while she has experienced her ‘fair share of racism’ in her life, it was ‘nothing as scary as this.’
‘I honestly wasn’t sure what was going to happen,’ Santos added. ‘I am so relieved my neighbor was there and I have no idea what could’ve happened to me if she wasn’t.’
my flowers pic.twitter.com/QjVESDqnic
— ponyo (@kagl0me) June 29, 2020
Deeply disturbing incident
She said the incident ‘represents where we are right now as a country.’
‘I just think especially in this racial climate, some people are walking on egg shells,’ she added. ‘Meanwhile, some people … have just gone full racist mode.’
Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen said he was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the incident, which is being investigated.
Police said they have identified and spoken with the man who accosted Santos, but did not release his name.
‘The fact that a resident of our town could face accusation and be followed around like a criminal should make everyone stop in their tracks and consider how we treat one another,’ Gillen told the Globe.
‘On a personal note, I have lived in this area for my entire life and have been a police officer here for more than 30 years,’ he added.
‘I have met many of the families in Groveland, including the victim’s family, and watched families grow here. … Our job as police officers is to not only keep people safe but also feel safe in Groveland.’