WASHINGTON — Racial profiling is described as “the use of race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed an offense.”
Online discussions have been centered around the topic of race after WUSA9 first reported about a Maryland man who called police on two groups of black women at a swimming pool over the weekend.
The encounters took place at the swimming pool inside of The Edition Apartments on East-West Highway in Hyattsville, Maryland.
The incidents were caught on video and received hundreds of thousands of views and comments.
Women in both groups believed the escalation of calls to police were racially motivated, but the man at the center of both encounters insists the calls had nothing to do with race.
Nick Starr-Street said he both approached both groups of women because they were breaking pool rules by having glassware present.
"I'm autistic. I just see right and wrong," Nick Starr-Street explained. "I don't see race. I don't see gender. I don’t see color. I don't see any of that."
He blamed his autism diagnosis for the reason he was compelled to call police.
"I think because of the way that my mind works, I don't always click with other people," Starr-Street said. "I don't understand when people get upset over the things that I say or do. To me, that’s just how I feel."
According to Ambitious About Autism, a charity for people with autism, it is common for some people on the autism spectrum to become single-minded.
"It's one thing to have a 'special interest,' but it’s another to have a serious obsession," the website states.
This is not the first time Starr-Street has been at the center of a social media firestorm and controversy.
WUSA9 discovered Starr-Street has a history of making racially-charged, anti-LGBTQ, and explicit posts on social media.
Felecia Soso recorded many of the videos she and her friends were involved in with Starr-Street.
“It feels bizarre because I don’t want to say I forget that I’m black because I don’t forget that I’m black, but I don’t really think – I don’t spend my every day thinking I’m going to get targeted,” Soso said.
She said she becomes embarrassed when she comes face-to-face with racial profiling.
“I deal with it so much, I see it. So, when I see it, I know it,” Soso said.
Soso added that racial profiling is more common than some may know.
She said it is important for people to take a stand if they witness someone being a victim of racial profiling or what may appear to be racial profiling.
Hyattsville Police did not determine if any crimes were committed during the reported incidents, but several people from all parties involved plan to take legal action.