A homeowners association in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City is raising money for a man’s legal fees after he was arrested when a neighbor called police on him.
The Waldo Tower Homes Association is trying to raise funds for 27-year-old Brandon Robins of Kansas City. Robins was arrested Tuesday near East 81st and Oak streets on an outstanding warrant for a minor traffic offense.
Angie Lile, the association’s president, said that a neighbor followed Robins in her vehicle and photographed him walking through the neighborhood.
Lile said that the neighbor posted the photos to a private Facebook group, stating that Robins looked suspicious.
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The woman then called police, Lile said.
Robins had taken a city bus to the neighborhood to pick up his son and stepdaughter from Hartman Elementary School shortly before 3 p.m.
“It’s OK to be vigilant and watch out for your neighbors, but when we take a picture of someone and post it on Facebook and tell everyone that he is potentially dangerous, I think that is crossing the line,” Lile said.
In an interview Saturday, Robins said he was trying to make the most out of the situation by raising awareness on discrimination.
Robins and his spokeswoman, Tasha James, are working on a movement to address discrimination against minorities in the community. They created a Facebook page called K.C. Unity in All Ethnicity.
Robins said his goal is to unify all races.
Robins, who is black, said he did not think racism played a role in the incident. The woman who followed him was white.
“I think it was more of a prejudice,” he said.
Robins said he spent about three hours in jail before being released. Robins said he became afraid when the woman began following him. Things got tense when the woman insinuated she had a gun.
“This could have ended way differently than it did,” he said.
The homeowners association raised about $300 for Robins in the first few days following his arrest. Lile said the group plans to give him the money in the near future.
Lile has spoken to Robins about the incident. She said Robins told her he didn’t realize he would be targeted in such a way.
“He has been very understanding,” Lile said of Robins. “I don’t think raising donations for him and getting him gift cards is too much trouble for us at all. That’s the least we can do to make him feel welcome in the neighborhood.”