‘You look like you’re rifling through someone’s glove box’: Black man accused of stealing from his own car by white woman in Bristol

‘Everything comes down to race now, doesn’t it,' woman says after accusation of racial profiling

Andy Gregory
Monday 24 August 2020 07:56
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Black man cleaning his car in Bristol stopped by white woman asking if he knows his registration number

A black man was accused of stealing from his own car by a white woman as he cleaned it on a street in Bristol.

Abdi Kheyre said he had been racially profiled by the passer-by, who claimed he looked like he was "rifling through someone’s glove box" and asked him to state the registration number of his Ford Fiesta.

He was approached by the woman near his home in the city's Redcliffe area as he prepared his car for an MOT.

In footage of the incident which Mr Kheyre posted on social media, the woman - pushing a bike and wearing a helmet is heard saying: "You look like you’re rifling through someone’s glove box."

Mr Kheyre replied: “That’s my flipping car. You think I’m robbing my own car because I’m black. Call the police.”

The cyclist, who has not been identified, responded that she “might do”, adding: “Everything comes down to race now, doesn’t it.”

Speaking to The Independent, Mr Kheyre said: “I’ve got an old Ford Fiesta, and I pulled out my glove compartment and with the strength I pulled it out with, the whole thing pulled out and then my fuse box was out on show."

He said several passers-by had wished him good morning and one discussed the weather him as he cleaned the car before the woman stopped to ask him what his registration number was.

Mr Kheyre said he was confused by her question at first – until she suggested the car wasn’t his.

She claimed that there had been "lots of car crime" on the street, to which Mr Kheyre replied: "I live in this area."

He said he did not believe her claim about a spate of crime was true. Avon and Somerset Police were unable to immediately comment.

The exchange lasted for several minutes before the woman left, wheeling her bicycle away, as an audibly emotional Mr Kheyre told her to “f**k off".

The woman later returned to apologise, saying : “If you live ‘round here, we should be mates.”

Mr Kheyre told The Independent that he was encouraged to put the footage online by concerned friends and decided to speak out in an attempt to prevent it from happening again.

He said he had a younger sister who was learning to drive, who he feared may not have stood up for herself in the same way.

“So I’m putting this online and talking about it so that this woman doesn’t do this to my siblings or someone else,” Mr Kheyre said.

“In Bristol, when I was younger I faced racism, but not in the area that we live in,” he added. “My area is diverse, we have so many different colours and races in that area, and we all thought we were safe in this area, but apparently we’re not.”

Responding to accusations on Twitter that he was too rude in his reaction, he said: “No. I’m genuinely sick and tired ... if she thought hand-on-heart I was stealing my own car, she would have never approached me. She would have called the police from a distance.”

He added: “How do they expect me to react when someone’s accusing me of something because of my colour. How would they even know how that feels. My reaction was definitely justified.”

“For people trying to justify what she’s done – I’ve parked my car in that same area for a whole year,” Mr Kheyre said. “And if I looked suspicious, the three other couples who walked past me would have said something ... and nobody did.”

He added: “If people are saying this is nothing to do with race, they are part of the problem, in my eyes.

"I wish I’d brought it up in the video but in the car in front of me, there was a white guy sitting in his car. Why did she not go up to him before me?”

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