Black girl wrongly reported to police by neighbor gets Yale tour

NEW HAVEN — A 9-year-old Black girl from New Jersey visited Yale University for a science tour through an invitation from a professor after a neighbor called police on the girl for spraying lanternflies on sidewalks.

The incident happened in October in Caldwell, N.J., where Bobbi Wilson, a fourth-grader, was killing  lanternflies she spotted in her neighborhood, as encouraged to do so by the New Jersey state government. Bobbi learned to make her own spray mixture through TikTok over the summer.

Gordon Lawshe, a neighbor and a former councilman, called the non-emergency line reporting his sight of “a little Black woman walking and spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees,” according to the call obtained by CNN.

“I don’t know what the hell she’s doing,” Lawshe said. “Scares me though.”

According to police bodycam footage obtained by CNN, an officer stopped by to question the girl and her mother, Monique Joseph, who both were confused and upset because they lived across the street from Lawshe. The footage shows Bobbi asking her mother, “Am I in trouble?” “No,” her mom and the officer responded.

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