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Video Shows N.J. Woman ‘Harassing’ Black Lawyers About a Patio Installation; Cops Investigating Incident

Video of a white Montclair, New Jersey woman calling the police on her Black neighbors has sparked outrage, joining a series of similar videos which have gone viral in recent weeks and months. Following the latest video, residents organized a peaceful demonstration outside of the woman’s home.

In the video, Susan Schulz, whose LinkedIn page lists her as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxics Compliance Section, is shown calling the police and accusing Fareed Nassor Hayat, an attorney and law professor at City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, of “pushing [her] off his property” following a dispute over a patio permit.

In a Facebook post from Monday that included the video, Hayat wrote that Schulz, whom he referred to as “Permit Karen,” “called the police to lodge a false report of assault” after allegedly coming onto the property “three times within thirty minutes to demand to know if we had the proper permit to install a stone patio in our backyard.”

Throughout the video, Hayat’s wife, Norrinda Brown Hayat, who is also an attorney, and several fellow Montclair residents repeatedly attempted to stop Schulz from “harassing” the family.

“You’ve been harassing us for two years,” Norrinda Brown Hayat said.

It has happened again. White entitlement and black hate embodied in Susan who lives on Marion Road and works at the EPA, called the police to lodge a false report of assault against me when told to leave our property. Susan, aka "Permit Karen,” came onto our property three times within thirty minutes to demand to know if we had the proper permit to install a stone patio in our backyard, on the other side of the fence of her yard. When asked if a permit was required by law, she said she didn’t know, but insisted we answer her questions and submit to her demands, or she would call the police to force us to stop improving our home. (A permit is not required in Montclair for a stone patio this size. This fact was known to us through our own independent research, our contractor and later verified when building and safety arrived at our home to investigate her complaint.) When challenged about her flawed legal conclusions, assumption of right, her lack of agency over our home and our eventual demand that she leave our property immediately, Susan decided to call the police and make a false report of assault. She invoked centuries of brutality in her call to the police and sought to put her black neighbors back in their place. She believed that we were required to answer her questions and smile while doing so. But to her surprise, her efforts were met by two proudly black human beings, parents, lawyers, law professors, activist, community members, neighbors, citizens and fighters, who refused to submit. Her efforts were also met by a collection of largely white neighbors, who refused to simply go along with her racist efforts or not stand up against her attempt to invoke the racist power of the state through police. Their efforts were antiracist ideology at work. Each neighbor declared to her and the police that she summoned, that she was a lie and no such assault occurred. She left our home, rejected and unfulfilled, yet still empowered to do future harm. To her Black Lives Don’t Matter when up against her presumed inalienable rights of whiteness. She did not see the flaw in her ways or apologize for her behavior. Her type, the racist, must be rejected and ostracized like she was today by Norrinda and I, but equally important, by our white neighbors here in Montclair and our white and non-white allies worldwide.

Posted by Fareed Nassor Hayat on Monday, June 29, 2020

The Montclair Police confirmed to The Record that they responded to a call concerning the altercation and are investigating the incident.

According to Hayat’s post, a permit is not required for the structure his family was building, a fact he said was confirmed by the couple’s contractor and local building and safety officials who were investigating Schulz’s complaint.

“She invoked centuries of brutality in her call to the police and sought to put her black neighbors back in their place,” Hayat wrote in his post. “She believed that we were required to answer her questions and smile while doing so. But to her surprise, her efforts were met by two proudly black human beings, parents, lawyers, law professors, activist, community members, neighbors, citizens and fighters, who refused to submit.”

After the video began spreading around the internet, approximately 40 Montclair residents organized a protest outside of Schulz’s home, chanting “Hey Hey Ho Ho, your racism has got to go,” and writing “Black Lives Matter” and “NotHere” on the street in chalk, the report stated. Montclair police were present during the demonstration.

“Her efforts were also met by a collection of largely white neighbors, who refused to simply go along with her racist efforts or not stand up against her attempt to invoke the racist power of the state through police,” Hayat wrote. “Their efforts were antiracist ideology at work. Each neighbor declared to her and the police that she summoned, that she was a lie and no such assault occurred.”

[image via Facebook screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.