In a video posted to social media by Santos, the man is seen questioning her about what she was doing in a neighborhood barely a mile from her own home.
Julia Santos was on her way back from picking up a bag of dog food for her pomeranian-beagle mix, Athena, when she realized that she was being followed. According to CNN, she told police that she had seen an ad on a Groveland community Facebook page on Monday afternoon about someone giving away excess dog food and was on her way home when she found herself cornered on a side street by a white man. In a video posted to social media by Santos, the man is seen questioning her about what she was doing in a neighborhood barely a mile from her home.
A white man allegedly followed a Black Groveland woman and accused her of suspicious behavior while she was driving in her own neighborhood Monday afternoon, in an incident that the police chief said “deeply disturbed” him. https://t.co/KGGYypr6OS— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) July 1, 2020
Santos told police that the man in a convertible BMW conspicuously followed her on the way home, including turning around his vehicle as she turned around in a different direction. "At this point, I'm checking my mirrors ever(y) few seconds," she revealed. "A hundred thoughts are rushing to my head as I realized I'm definitely being followed. I knew I couldn't turn into my own driveway so I turned into a different street. Forgetting the street had no turn around point, my heart dropped as I realized I cornered myself."
The 21-year-old informed police that when she confronted the man, he accused her of suspicious behavior. She explained that she pulled out the phone to record the encounter when she realized how serious the situation was about to get. In the video that has since gone viral on social media, Santos is heard telling the man, "quite frankly, I don't feel safe right now," to which the man responds "You don't feel safe? I don't feel safe with you driving around my neighborhood." According to police, the man only left the young woman alone when another resident in the neighborhood came out of her house and told him to leave.
I just got Karen'd? This man followed me home because I went to pick up DOG FOOD at somebody's house!— ponyo (@kagl0me) June 29, 2020
He followed me all the way to my house so I turned on a side street and he said he felt "unsafe" pic.twitter.com/vEBdhStU1K
Although Groveland Police have identified the man and interviewed him, they are not naming the man at this time. They have opened a criminal investigation into the incident which is still active and ongoing. The department said that a Groveland Police detective is assigned to the case and that criminal charges may be filed. However, no charges have been filed as of Wednesday. Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen expressed outrage about the situation in a news release, condemning situations such as this one which would cause anyone to fear for their safety in Groveland.
WATCH VIDEO: #Resisters, urgently tweet Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen @GrovelandPolice to investigate the WHITE MAN who followed the BLACK WOMAN, Julia Santos, 21, because she was driving in his neighborhood.— ZeliaLH 🇮🇳🇯🇵 (@ZeliaLH) July 1, 2020
cc @Blklivesmatter @ACLUhttps://t.co/4AU5LZtkpc @MailOnline
"On a personal note, I have lived in this area for my entire life and have been a police officer here for more than 30 years. I have met many of the families in Groveland, including the victim's family, and watched families grow here. I am deeply disturbed by this situation. The fact that a resident of our town could face accusation and be followed around like a criminal should make everyone stop in their tracks and consider how we treat one another," Chief Gillen said.
Trump's America— WhatWhyWhenHow?? (@Laughinginstead) July 1, 2020
Groveland, MA: White man followed Julia Santos who picked up advertised free bag of dog food for 2 miles & only backed off when a neighbor called him out
Man to Santos: I don’t feel safe with you driving around my neighborhood,
Karl the male version of Karen pic.twitter.com/fNHOtq4c6n
"Our job as police officers is to not only keep people safe but also feel safe in Groveland, and we will aggressively investigate this situation and do everything we can do to ensure it is not repeated," Gillen added. Santos revealed that although she is still a little shaken up over the incident, the support from her community is making her feel better.