Police are now re-examining the case of Angel Pittman, whose dreams of opening a mobile hair salon in North Carolina were ruined by racism.
In response to the story, published by the Guardian this week, the Rowan county sheriff’s office has reached out to her family “to see if we could further assist them”.
Pittman confirmed that the sheriff’s office did contact her and her family and that they seemed “concerned now … They said to make another report, and they’ll investigate.”
The sheriff’s office has also issued a statement that, in part, said “in further review of the deputies report, and body cam footage, Miss Hopes [Pittman’s mother] never reported that any threats had been made to her or anyone else”.
Pittman’s family had reported the incident after the buses she parked on property she just bought were vandalized with slurs, and her neighbor displayed racist signs outside his home, including Ku Klux Klan paraphernalia. Pittman said those signs were not there when she visited the land before.
The statement acknowledges the vandalism and racist signs but said since the publication of the Guardian’s original reporting on 21 March “we have received numerous enquiries from various media outlets stating that they have been in contact with Angel Pittman, and that she is alleging that threats were made to her and her family by the neighbor. To date, we have no record that Angel Pittman has ever contacted or spoken to anyone with our agency in reference to this incident.”
When asked about the sheriff’s claims that she wasn’t the one to speak to the officers herself, Pittman said her parents did so on her behalf because the day of the incident she was so traumatized by the vandalism, discrimination and an elderly white man waving his gun that she sat in one of the buses, crying and filming the evidence.
“Personally, I’m scared of police officers,” said the 21-year-old. “I’ve never even been pulled over. I don’t even know what to say to police officers, especially with police brutality and stuff.”
Pittman said she and her family will not be speaking with the sheriff’s office until they obtain counsel for their safety and to ensure they approach the matter carefully and with appropriate legal attention.
“They’re trying to make it seem like they cared this whole time,” Pittman said. “That we’re the reason why nothing is being done, because we didn’t follow up? What do we have to follow up for? [They] didn’t even do anything in the beginning.”
Pittman said if the tables were turned, this would have been different from day one.
“If a white person said that I, being Black, ruined their stuff and wrote all types of crazy stuff on their property, I’m pretty sure I would have been arrested and put into custody that day,” she said. “They didn’t do anything like that. They didn’t even knock on anyone’s door to figure out if anyone seen anything – nothing like that. All [the officer] did was talk to us. He didn’t talk to anyone else. And we told him what we were going through and how we felt.”