A white man who called the cops on a black man for allegedly trespassing into his San Francisco apartment building on the Fourth of July has apologized for making the man feel “unfairly targeted.”
Last Thursday, software engineer Wesley Michel was waiting for his friend outside a Bay Area condo, when he was confronted by a man, who has since been identified as YouTube employee Christopher Cukor and his young son, who both live on the property.
In a now-viral video recorded by Michel and shared over 1 million times on social media, Cukor demanded to know the name of Michel’s friend, who was later proven to be a resident in the building. But, when Michel refused to share the information, he was wrongfully accused of “trespassing,” and the police were called.
Michel told CNN that the incident “mirrors the experience that African Americans endure daily where we are questioned on whether we belong.”
“I videotaped this incident to protect myself and to support my story should police get involved,” Michel said.
However, after deleting his social media accounts, Cukor shared his side of the story on an online publishing platform called Medium. In the interview, Cukor said robbery isn’t uncommon in his neighborhood, and his personal experiences made the situation more complex. Cukor revealed that his father was murdered by a trespasser outside of his home.
Although he claimed that he only approached Michel for his child’s safety and the safety of the building, he said his actions weren’t racially motivated because bad people can be of any race.
“I now realize that Wesly was reacting based on his unique history as well,” Cukor said. “Unfortunately there is a terrible pattern of people calling the authorities regarding people of color for no other reason than their race. The last thing I ever intended was to echo that history — and I’m sorry my actions caused Wesly to feel unfairly targeted due to his race.”
However, Michel just wants to live a life without prejudice.
“I believe that ultimately everyone wants to be seen for who they are and not prejudged,” Michel said. “I’m an American, a brother, a son, and an ambitious Engineer who loves to code and wants to greatly contribute to the tech world in, a city that I love.”