This is how D’Arreion Toles began his Facebook post on Saturday after a woman tried to stop him from entering the luxury loft apartment building where he lives in downtown St. Louis.
“To Be A Black man in America, & Come home,” he wrote.
The woman who confronted him was white and, refusing to move out of his way at the door of the Elder Shirt Lofts high-rise, told him she wasn’t letting him in because she felt “uncomfortable.”
“Downtown St. Louis luxury loft, because she don’t feel that I belong, never really thought this would happen to me, but it did!” Toles wrote. “I was shocked this is America in 2018!”
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Toles filmed the encounter on his cell phone and that now-viral video has attracted more than 3,000 comments on his Facebook page alone.
The woman’s employer saw it, too, and fired her, reports KMOV in St. Louis.
“I am not mad at her. I am not upset with her. I am not going to go after her legally or anything like that. I wish her the best. I would still have a conversation with her,” Toles told KMOV.
“I appreciate all of the love and support. Like I said, don’t respond negatively. Don’t go after the lady. Let her be at peace. Let her live her life.”
The video posted to Facebook shows the woman, with a dog on a leash, blocking Toles with her body at the door. She refuses to step out of his way.
“Please move, ma’am,” he tells her.
“I can. Do you live here?” she asks.
“I already answered that question,” he says. “You’re blocking me.”
“Into MY building,” she insists.
“It’s my building, as well, so I need you to get out of my way,” Toles tells her.
“OK, what unit?” she asks.
“I don’t need to tell you that information,” he says. “So excuse me, ma’am.”
“I’m uncomfortable,” the woman says.
“You can be uncomfortable. That’s your discretion. you’re uncomfortable because of you,” Toles says. “I need you to get out of my way.”
He tells her not to touch him. She says she’s not touching him.
She mentions a key fob and he pulls his out, telling her, “ma’am, you’re not security.”
He manages to walk past her into the lobby and she shouts after him. “Are you kidding me?”
“Call the police, whatever you want to do,” he tells her.
In another video snippet, the woman and the dog follow Toles down a hallway.
“I would like to introduce myself,” she tells him.
“I do not want to speak with you. Please stop following me. I’m going to call the cops for harassment. That’s my next step,” he tells her.
Then, he films the woman standing outside his apartment, watching him.
“You just followed me all the way to my door. And you see my keys in the door,” he tells her from inside the apartment.
“As a record, I just want to say hi. What is your name?” she asks him.
“No, ma’am. Have a good night, ma’am. Don’t ever do that again. You look pretty stupid on video. Have a nice night. And my name is Mr. Toles.”
He told KSDK in St. Louis that “the video speaks for itself.”
The woman has not responded to requests for comment from several media outlets, including KSDK and The New York Times.
“I live here, just like how she lives here. She has no authority over me or my life,” he told KSDK. “My biggest thing to the world and to the people is how we respond to it. Do not respond to it out of anger.
“Like people I notice say ‘hey you kept your composure.’ I think that’s something you have to do, that’s something you’re supposed to do.”
In a statement to KMOV and KSDK on Sunday afternoon, Tribeca-STL, a luxury apartment company, said the woman in the video was their employee but that the incident did not happen at one of their properties.
The company said it decided to fire her after seeing the video of the “disturbing interaction.”
“The Tribeca-STL family is a minority-owned company that consists of employees and residents from many racial backgrounds. We are proud of this fact and do not and never will stand for racism or racial profiling at our company,” the statement said.
“After a review of the matter the employee has been terminated and is no longer with our Company. At Tribeca-STL we want all residents, guests and visitors to feel welcome, safe and respected.”
Toles said the incident shocked him.
“I am just glad I had my camera out. If I did not have my camera out, I feel it could have gone a totally different way,” he told KMOV.