Monique Joseph, the mother of 9-year-old Bobby Wilson, recently spoke out after her neighbor called the police on her daughter for catching lanternflies.
The incident happened back in October.
Bobby Wilson decided she wanted to help save the trees in her community after learning about invasive lantern flies.
While she was outside of her house in Caldwell, New Jersey, her neighbor called the police on her.
Monique Joseph described what happened that day on “Good Morning America.”
So that was um early on a Saturday morning around 11:00 o’clock A.M. Bobby went out with her homemade solution to kill the spotted lantern flies that were infested onto the trees on our street.
A couple of minutes later, I decided to go out and join her, and that’s when I noticed I saw the officer’s car slowly passing my home and stopping at my neighbor’s home.
A couple of seconds later, I heard my neighbor yell to the officer, ‘Go get her!’
And that’s what caught my attention, initially, right?… So as I saw the officer approaching Bobby, I’m computing and I’m realizing that he’s stopping to talk to Bobby so she’s engaging with him and I said, ‘Officer please don’t, you know, that’s my daughter, she’s nine, she’s a minor.’
By the time I got there, he’d asked Bobby a series of questions.
He immediately let me know that she was okay, I was okay, but that he was recording.
He had a body cam on, and in that moment I asked, you know, ‘Why are you recording?’
And he said he had a report that someone was…
Monique Joseph said she realized the incident could have gone left afterward.
So honestly when I knew it could have gone left was afterwards…
So, initially, all I knew was that my neighbor had called.
I approached him. I asked him why would he call the police.
He gave me his version of why he called.
Um, it was contradictory to what the 911 transmission, and that was the moment that I realized when he racially profiled my daughter, when he used dog whistle terminology that was dangerous.
That’s when I understood exactly what happened…
When I got the 911 transmission for me it was clear.
He used ‘black women’. He said he was ‘scared.’
His language, he said he didn’t know what the **** she was doing, right?…
And even afterwards when the officer went back, because I was able to hear it, the officer explained to him that it was your neighbor and she was spraying the solution and even his response then, there was nothing about it that sound, like, neighborly, right?…
And the fact that I was there, he was there the entire time he never tried to approach me to say, ‘Oh my God, I made a mistake,’ you know, a natural reaction would be if you didn’t know who you were calling on and then the mom comes out, you know us, he didn’t try to intervene.
So for me um, I just knew that I had to speak out because the 911 transmission was the exact opposite of what he communicated to me.
Monique Joseph decided to speak out about the incident at a city council meeting, and she said the reaction from her community has been amazing.
Her daughter Bobby is an aspiring scientist, and she has been honored by the USDA, and she has been invited to Yale and Princeton Universities, from her mother speaking out and bringing awareness to the incident.