Allison Ettel, 44, is speaking out after drawing fury and backlash in racial row
A white woman has spoken out after drawing online fury for calling the police on an eight-year-old black girl who was selling bottled water on the sidewalk.
'It was wrong, and I wish I could take it back,' Allison Ettel, 44, told SFGate on Saturday, hours after video of the incident in San Francisco raced across the internet. 'Believe me, I wish I never had done that.'
In interviews, Ettel said that she acted out of frustration after the girl and an adult woman had been 'screaming' outside her window all day, and only pretended to call 911 in a desperate attempt to get them to pipe down.
Race, she says, had nothing to do with it. But reaction to video of the incident was swift and furious, drawing death threats and messages vowing sexual assault in retaliation, Ettel said.
A phone call to Ettel from DailyMail.com went directly to voicemail and was not immediately returned.
A woman (left) has been condemned online after she allegedly called the police on an eight-year-old girl (right) who was selling bottled water on the sidewalk in San Franciscio
The original tweet, as the camera rolls, the woman ducks down behind a wall but continues to call cops
The incident unfolded on Saturday afternoon, when a brief video was posted on Twitter showing Ettel speaking on the phone and an unidentified woman accusing her of calling the cops on a girl selling bottled water on the sidewalk.
'Don’t hide, the whole world gonna see you, boo,' the person shooting the video says. Ettel replies: 'Yeah, illegally selling water without a permit.'
When the person shooting the video says that the girl is selling water on her own property, the woman says 'its not your property' as she walks away.
'So my little cousin was selling water and didn't have a permit so this lady decided to call the cops on an 8 year old,' wrote Twitter user Raj (@_ethipiangold) alongside the video.
Raj referred to the woman as #PermitPatty.
Ettel said the incident had actually been brewing for hours, with the woman and girl screaming incessantly outside of her window as she tried to work.
The online firestorm has also impacted the company Ettel (above) runs, TreatWell, which makes cannabis tinctures for cats and dogs
'They were screaming about what they were selling,' she told HuffPost. 'It was literally nonstop. It was every two seconds, 'Come and buy my water.' It was continuous and it wasn't a soft voice, it was screaming.'
She said that she approached building security but was told they couldn't do anything.
'I have no problem with enterprising young women. I want to support that little girl. It was all the mother and just about being quiet,' she said.
At her wit's end, Ettel said she pretended to call 911, but was actually bluffing.
A spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department said officers have had no recent contact with an eight-year-old girl and the woman who posted the video said that no police ever responded.
However, critics who spread the video far and wide said that even the threat of calling 911 on the black woman and child was racist and 'evil'.
'They want police to kill us. The girl was causing no harm. They know what happens when they call the police,' wrote columnist Shaun King. 'This is evil.'
CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill chimed in: 'If you call the police on an 8 year old Black child selling water, you’re saying that you don’t care if that child lives or dies. It’s that simple.'
Actress Gabrielle Union commented: 'This woman asks to speak to somebody's manager on the daily. She permanently wears folks OUT'.
The online firestorm has also come down upon the company Ettel runs, TreatWell, which makes cannabis tinctures for cats and dogs.
Magnolia Oakland, a dispensary that carries TreatWell's products, said in a statement that it had immediately dropped the company's products upon learning of the video.
'After seeing this video of their CEO, calling the police on an 8 year old entrepreneur selling water on a hot day, we decided without hesitation that we could no longer patronize her company,' the dispensary said.
'Treatwell was one of our best selling products but to us, Integrity is always above profits.'
The person who posted the video also posted a split image of the woman who called cops on the people having a barbecue (left) in April, and the woman allegedly calling cops today (right)
Raj says the child is fine and continued to sell water bottles, and has solicited donations for the girl over the incident.
She also revealed that a scammer posing as her had tried to capitalize on the buzz by soliciting donations on Twitter.
'Y'all please DO NOT send money through that paypal that is somebody pretending to be me,' she wrote.
The musician Jonathon Brandon said that had been moved by the video to buy the girl four tickets to Disneyland.
A video posted by Raj shows the girl learning of the tickets and jumping up and down screaming in excitement.
Several people on Twitter compared Ettel to the woman who called 911 in April over a group of black people illegally barbecuing in a park in Oakland, California.
The unidentified woman in the viral video said they were using a charcoal grill instead of a non-charcoal grill in one of Lake Merritt's designated grilling zones.
A bystander named Michelle Snider, noticed the commotion and confronted the woman for 'harassing' the family, camera in hand, to record the 25-minute verbal altercation.
The woman who called 911 in that case was dubbed 'bbqbecky' online, in reference to the derisive term 'Beckys' for white women.