Utica Man Says 911 Called For Being Black: “OMG, He’s Got A Gun”
A Utica man calls it the ''worst thing I've ever been through" after the police were called while he was working in Blossvale, NY recently.
Bryant Mathis, who is Black, says he was conducting a field inspection at a residence in Blossvale last Friday - explaining to WIBX 950 that he's hired by mortgage companies to photograph properties who may be eligible for FEMA assistance, that were damaged by a natural disaster, or sometimes to simply verify occupancy of a home.
Mathis said on this particular job he was required to provide the residents with a document after he snapped photos. However, when he stepped onto the property to deliver that document, Mathis says he was immediately told to leave and was repeatedly called the 'N' word by a man who lives there.
From there, it only got worse, Mathis said.
"Then the wife comes out and she starts spewing: I'm going to take your picture," Mathis claims. "I said: 'Look I'm just here to try and help you guys.' Then he comes at me with a hose."
Mathis said as the husband was attempting to spray him with a hose, the wife said she was calling police and got on her phone.
"I said to myself: 'I'm alright - I'm still good, I know I haven't done anything wrong."
But, to have some record of his side of the story, Mathis said he began to record from his cellphone.
One of the videos shot by Mathis shows the couple standing on their lawn as he records from the road. As the woman is on the phone - presumably with 9-1-1 - she begins to shriek: "Oh my god, he's coming toward us...Oh my god, he's got a gun."
Seconds later, the woman mentions a weapon again, this time saying: "I think he's got a gun."
Video Warning: Be advised this video may contains strong language.
Mathis can be heard on the video mocking what he viewed as their false cries for help, and warning them they had just committed a crime by making a phony emergency call to police and lying about a gun.
Speaking with WIBX 950 on Thursday, Mathis said the reality of how the situation had escalated by the claim that he was armed made him stop recording so he could call his wife.
"I said, look if I don't make it home tonight, this is where I'm at."
Mathis said he didn't want to leave the scene for fear the arriving police would start to pursue him - a man whom they may have believed was armed and had been threatening residents.
The 52-year-old shared what he was thinking from there.
"I don't want to pose a threat, I put my phone down. I don't want to get back in my car. I said [to myself] I'm just going to stand here with my hands down," so there would be no confusion as to whether he was holding some sort of weapon when police arrived, he said.
Mathis says at no point was he armed and said the arriving New York State Troopers never searched his body or vehicle for a weapon. But, after speaking with him, then the couple who called police, Mathis said some of the questions asked by the Troopers puzzled him.
"They asked me: 'Do you know how old they are?' They also asked me why I didn't leave. I went from thinking: I didn't do anything wrong, I'm going to be okay to: I just wanna get home," Mathis said. "It was fifty-fifty, I didn't know what going to happen."
Mathis also told WIBX he asked for a supervisor and for the badge numbers and names of the responding troopers but said a supervisor never responded and he was never provided with the information.
After some emotional moments on the radio he has recounted the experience, Mathis said "It was the worst thing I've ever been through."
On Facebook, Mathis was critical of law enforcement for not charging the couple with making a false 911 call, contending the couple knew full-well he wasn't armed and wasn't there to hurt anyone.
WIBX 950 reached out to New York State Police Troop D for comment on the July 8 incident and were told it was an open investigation and police would not be able to comment at this time.
Mathis also told WIBX 950 he was scheduled to meet with a representative of the Oneida County District Attorney's Office later in the day on Thursday.
Check back with WIBX 950 as we'll provide more information on this story as it becomes available.